Beef and the Environment

Canada’s beef industry focuses on being responsible, sustainable, safe and healthy.

Cattle play an important role in the Canadian ecosystem. Grazing on grass improves the health of the grasslands which is vitally important for wildlife habitat and maintaining bird migratory patterns.

You could say that cattle grazing keeps the birds gazing!

Nearly 1/3 of Canada’s agricultural land is covered in grasses and forages. Often not suitable for crop farming, they support grazing cattle while maintaining wildlife habitat.

Cattle maintain 68% of the wildlife habitat capacity that comes from our agricultural land. Many bird species would lose their habitat to overgrowth without cattle grazing.

Keep calm. Graze on.

These grazing lands also store approximately 1.5 billion tonnes of carbon – that’s equal to the emissions from 3.62 million cars annually. The cultivation of grasslands can lead to a 30-50% loss of soil organic carbon.

With 74% of Canada’s native grasslands already lost to cultivation, grazing cattle are key to preserving these important spaces.

Cattle sustain soil with the nutrients from manure for healthy grass. Healthy grass means ground cover protection from the blazing sun and pounding rains. Cattle are the ultimate manure spreaders. And that’s no bull!

Cattle transform plants that are inedible to us, like grass, into one of nature’s most nutrient dense foods and powerful proteins. Now that’s efficient processing!

Cattle can also make use of food waste by consuming crops and crop byproducts that can’t be used as human food. For example, in PEI, cattle feed on potatoes that are not suitable for us to eat. Overall, 86% of all cattle feed is not suitable for human consumption.

The greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) of beef production in Canada are among the lowest in the world.

GHG from cattle contribute to only 2.4% of our country’s total emissions. Globally, GHG from Canadian beef accounts for only 0.04% of total emissions.

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