Sorry about the quality, these were all taken with my iPhone.
A single, grain-fed steer eats more than 2870 lbs of corn, soy and other grains in its lifetime (which is about one, miserable year)! Evidence of a completely broken food system. The steer in my freezer ate 0 lbs of grain. In fact, he feasted on glorious pasture, which builds topsoil and increases viability in mixed ecosystems. And, my steer had a good life and a humane death. I know because I know the farmer that raised him and I've walked the land that he lived on.
I was feeling a little defensive when I got to the farming and agriculture section of the exhibition. I, wrongly, assumed it would be the same old crap about eating a vegetarian diet and laying off beef. In fact, there were displays discussing the environmental destruction of the environment from factory raised beef that suggested, as a sustainable option, consuming grass-fed beef. I was pretty impressed.
In addition, there were models displaying root structure differences between native prairie grasslands and annual crops like wheat. It's the native grasslands that offer any promise of maintaining our topsoil, that precious resource that is blowing away with the wind. Those grasses, our quickly depleting resource that is being destroyed by our intensive agriculture practices. Without topsoil, there is no food. If we want to save our environment, putting ruminants back on grasslands would be one helluva' start.
Please ignore the glare from the placard. Poor picture, but too important not to post. On the left, you can see a sidecut of native grasslands, on the right, a swath of wheat. A good demonstration of the grasses ability to reach deep into the soil, nourishing it with beneficial bacteria and holding that topsoil firmly in place. Grains are responsible for soil erosion and the destruction of the fertility in our soil.
The alternative: happy Dexters on beautiful Alberta grasslands.