Speaking Up for the Facts

The very first issue of Good Housekeeping came out in 1885 and I bet that many of you have been faithful readers over the years, as were your mothers, grandmothers and great-grandmothers. We trust the magazine to help us better care for ourselves and our families.

That’s why we had to step up and speak up when the magazine recently printed a feature story (“Mainstream Meat Alternatives”) that had inaccurate statements. Lois Schlickau, a long-time KAW member and advocate/volunteer for agriculture, rural communities and the cattle industry, brought the article to our group’s attention during a teleconference. She highlighted the inaccuracies — and then got to work researching the correct, science-based facts to share. Lois sent a letter to the editor and we followed her example of advocacy and adapted the letter.

Here’s the letter. We encourage you to also speak out when you see inaccurate information about agriculture. We’re glad to help, if you need it.


March 4, 2020
Jane Francisco, Editor
Good Housekeeping
300 W. 57th Street
New York, NY
feedback@goodhousekeeping.com

Dear Ms. Francisco,

Good Housekeeping has been respected by generations of readers for its accurate and “sealed with science” articles. It’s because of that reputation that I write you today. I am vice president of Kansas Agri-Women, an organization of farm, ranch and agribusiness women who volunteer countless hours to educate consumers about agriculture. 

At a recent meeting, we discussed the article “Mainstream Meat Alternatives” in the January/February issue. Some of the information presented is inaccurate. 

Under “Lab Results,” you state: “Great when it comes to sustainability (animal farming causes 51% of greenhouse gas emissions), these make eating out easier for everyone.”

These figures are grossly inaccurate and you did not state your source.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says beef cattle production was responsible for 1.9% of total U.S. GHG emission in 2014.  Comparing that to landfills, transportation, electricity and other sources, which tallied in at 2.2%, 25.3%, 29.7% and 40.9% respectively – removing beef from the U.S. diet would have a minimal impact on GHG emissions.”

Another recent study shows that even if Americans removed all animal protein from their diets, they would reduce GHG emissions by only 2.6 %.  Dr. Frank Mitloehner, professor and air quality specialist for the Department of Animal Science at the University of California, says, “According to our research if the practice of Meatless Monday were to be adopted by all Americans, we’d see a reduction of only 0.5%.”

According to the EPA, GHG emissions per pound of beef have been reduced since the 1970s between 9 and 16%, and as environmental sciences advance, GHG emissions in the future will continue to decline.

We hope that you will run a correction regarding the data. In making decisions about how to feed our families, it is critical that respected media such as Good Housekeeping present accurate, science-based data. 

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Lisa Nichols, Vice President of Kansas Agri-Women,
contact@ksagriwomen.org

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