Very serious research has shown that not only is grass-fed beef ecologically damaging but that it can be more so than the factory-farmed variety.
Given the depth of this scientific consensus, Niman's piece falls flat.
She begins by mocking the science that confirms a direct relationship between cow burps and farts and methane emissions (livestock are the world's leading cause of methane output), drawing our attention to critics who fret over "bovine burps, flatulence and even breath for climate change [emphasis added]."
Note the subtle meaning lent to that sentence by the sneaky little word, "even." The idea behind it is that such a proposition-cows breathing and belching and tooting-is a little bit ridiculous. But it's not. Two decades of research shows that, silly as the idea sounds, it's true.
Live animals are resource-intensive beings. At some point, Niman, if her piece is to have any standing, must demonstrate how breeding and populating the earth with resource-intensive bodies could possibly qualify as an environmental benefit. Recall, they breath and burp and pass gas and, in so doing, generate methane.