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Beef Battle: As Bill Gates urges the US to move away from beef, Nebraska politicians urge residents to eat it

Posted at 6:41 PM, Mar 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-08 22:26:57-05

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — In a recent interview with MIT Tech Review, founder of Microsoft and philanthropist Bill Gates said, due to the methane emissions that come from cattle, every wealthy country should move away from beef and make the move to artificial versions.

“You can get used to the taste difference, and the claim is they’re going to make it taste even better over time,“ said Gates.

In a response last month, Congressman Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska said, in his newsletter the Fort Report, while he wants to prudently move towards green energy, he doesn’t believe plant-based meat is an answer.

“Making supper from a lab? That's not a solution, that's a chemistry experiment,“ said Fortenberry.

Others in the industry, like President of the Nebraska Cattlemen Bill Rhea, said not only would a move away from beef decimate the people that are in the beef business but it would have collateral damage as well.

“It’s a $12 billion industry in the state of Nebraska and that affects everything from land values to taxes to school districts and education and everything,” said Rhea.

At least some people in Omaha seem to be jumping on board.

You can frequently find plant-based, artificial meats in grocery stores — plus, vegan restaurant ‘Modern Love’, is continuing to grow.

“Veganism and plant-based diets are viewed as progressive solutions to some of our bigger problems,” said co-owner James Walmsley.

Walmsley, told 3 News Now that his customers choose Modern Love for a variety of reasons, including doing their part to fight climate change.

“To what degree, I don’t know...but abstaining from meat consumption whether it’s one meal per week or every meal...I think we’d all agree that it will help the climate long term,” said Walmsley.

Data from the Environmental Protection Agency shows that just under 10% of the United States greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture, with cows contributing to just under 4% of the total.

To curb emissions, state governments are also getting involved. Colorado’s Governor Jared Polis called for March 20 to be a 'Meat-Out Day,' urging residents to choose vegan alternatives.

In response, Governor Pete Ricketts declared that same day ‘Meat on the Menu’ day.

Rhea appreciated the gesture.

“I really appreciate what Gov. Ricketts has done because he’s been very supportive of particular, the beef industry,” said Rhea.

Walmsley sees it as a win for those looking for alternatives.

“The only thing that the Governor’s designation on March 20th tells me is that veganism is working,” he said.

Today we asked people whether they would give up meat for environmental reasons. Check out the results below: