On Friday, Valley Meat Co. of Modesto, California, recalled approximately 1 million pounds of ground beef because of possible E. coli contamination. Frightening? Yes. Shocking? Not if you take a look at the numbers.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), a typical steer will yield about 450 pounds of edible meat. Let’s do a little math:
1 million pounds of ground beef ÷ 450 pounds per cow = approximately 2,222 cows
Also according to the USDA, cattle are usually slaughtered when they are around 2 years old. According to a New York Times article from 2008, a cow who is raised for beef can produce about 14.6 tons of manure each year.
14.6 tons of manure per year × 2 years = 29.2 tons of manure in a lifetime
29.2 tons of manure × 2,222 cows = 64,882 tons of manure
Take a minute and process that—64,882 tons of waste! All of it carrying E. coli, a fecal bacteria. It seems inevitable that some of this nastiness would end up in the food supply at some point, doesn’t it? Factory farming and the microorganisms it breeds are deadly to humans and animals, so how about reducing the waste by going vegan?
Written by Shawna Flavell