Editor's note: The following commentary was written Gene Hall, Public Relations Director for the Texas Farm Bureau, and published on the Texas Agriculture Talks website.
Bad news, meat lovers: We’ll all be vegetarians by the year 2050 because we’ll run out of water to produce livestock. That’s the theory in this article on Yahoo.
These sweeping and absolute statements can be a lot more about someone’s agenda than futuristic forecasting. When you see something like this, you should ask, “Who doesn’t want anyone eating meat?” Or, “Who wants a grant to study livestock and water supplies?”
Without knowing how much rainfall there will be in the next 40 years, and where, this is a pretty tough call. It’s true that cows drink a lot of water, but water shortages have as much to do with distribution as with total supply. For example, does a cow drinking out of a stream in Montana or from a windmill pump in Mills County, Texas have anything to do with available water in Australia or sub-Saharan Africa? Yeah, I know, I don’t believe it either!
The environment, according to those that advocate for it, is and always will be on the edge of disaster. The same is true of animal rights causes. It’s very hard to raise funds without a disaster. “Everything is great” just doesn’t raise much money.
Looking back over the history of environmental extremism, you can find some pretty outrageous predictions. One had it that human life expectancy would be only 42 years by 1980. We should be in the throes of another ice age or altogether extinct by now, according to the disaster prediction industry.
The thing is people like meat, especially beef. It’s good for us, too. Some who have tried vegetarian diets don’t do well on them. Just for the record, I am 100 percent in favor of vegetarian diets for any and all who want to eat that way.
All cattle consume grass for the majority of their lives and there are places where nothing but grass will grow. We need livestock to harvest that for human consumption. There is no doubt that water supplies will impact agricultural production in the future, but I’d bet on some kind of livestock production so that we can, in effect, eat grass.
In the year 2050, I would be 96 years old. I don’t expect to be around, though my beef-devouring grandfather made it to 101. If I am, and if I have enough teeth to do so, I expect to bite into a hamburger at my 96th birthday party.