The Beef Against . . . Beef

Do cows cause global warming and human hunger? The fault, dear Jeremy, lies not in our cattle but in ourselves. . .

VERMIN. THE WORD reminds most people of cockroaches scuttling across kitchen floors and rats skulking in dark basement corners. But to Jeremy Rifkin, the environmental movement's most prominent polemicist, vermin are big, brown-eyed ungulates that graze the rolling countryside, chew their cud and moo. In his controversial new book, Beyond Beef: The Rise and Fall of the Cattle Culture, Rifkin manages to blame the world's burgeoning population of bovines for a staggering spectrum of ecological ills. In the U.S., he charges, runoff from mammoth feedlots is despoiling streams and underground aquifers. In sub- Saharan Africa, cattle are contributing to desertification by...

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