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Geo 509 Food - Place Assessment Answer



Food habits and preferences change depending on the geography and regional food choices or culinary traditions (Preston & Willis, 2013). The food habits of countries around the world changes with the changing geographical regions and availability of food products within the region and hence, the food and culinary traditions vary from one place to another around the world. Food preference depends on the taste, nutritional values, and availability of the food product and depending on this, a specific community within a region develops the culinary preference (Ridoutt et al., 2012). Meat is such a food product which is widely used around the world, however, there are places where due to regions practices, social preferences and less availability of the product, it is consumed less, for example in India, due to religious choices and preferences, very less number of population consumes chicken in their diet. Further, there are specific religious choices that allows people to consume less amount of chicken or other meat related products (Gerbens-Leenes, Mekonnen & Hoekstra, 2013).

This section of the discussion provides an overview of a specific meat source, beef which is used as a sole source of protein in majority of the world’s culinary traditions except few countries where beef is considered as a prohibited food product (Wicksell, 2013). If the scenario of Canada is followed, it could be said that consumption of beef is widely dispersed in the country and the consumption ranges from 25 to 30 kg of carcass weight per capita from 2010 to 2018and the rate is said to increase by 0.3 kg per capita by 2019 (Flysjö et al., 2012). If the governmental data is considered it could be said that 84% of the Canadian population consumes meat and therefore, it is an integral part of the Canadian diet (Gerbens-Leenes, Mekonnen & Hoekstra, 2013).

In this assignment, therefore, the discussion will discuss the geographical origin and dispersion of this food choice in the world. Further, the economic, political, culinary and social aspect of this food product will be discussed with proper literature support. Finally, several maps and data will be provided in the support of this food product.

Geographical dispersion of the animal and its usage

The geographical origin of beef cattle is associated with Scotland and the original beef cattle is named as the Aberdeen Angus which was originated in Aberdeen shire, Scotland. This cattle was primarily used as a beef cattle because it has a heavy carcass with smooth and lean mass that produces a high quality meat (Cassidy et al., 2013). Further, the cattle beef grows faster in any environmental condition, which makes it one of the widely used cattle beef around the world. This is the primary reason due to which, this cattle beef is used for cross breading with live stocks around the primary cattle lands around the world. The first import of this cattle beef was done in the year 1850 and it was imported to United States of America (Flysjö et al., 2012). After this, there are several cattle lands, around the world that starts cross breeding different cattle beefs in their lands and exported them to other countries so that a balanced supply of beef could be achieved around the world. Besides these, breeds such as Hereford which was developed in Herefordshire, England, Shorthorn, Galloway was developed in England and Scotland respectively (Wicksell, 2013).

The dispersion or distribution of beef cattle are muchmore widely distributed than the dairy cattle due to their ability to withstand harsh environmental conditions and physical strain (Cassidy et al., 2013). Further, their ability to survive in less food resources and difficult conditions increased the supply of these cattle beefs around the world. Hence, the number of cows which are produced for the beef production are produced in higher amount than other cattle and supplied throughout the world (Preston & Willis, 2013). If the world statistics is considered, the number of cattle in the year 2016 was 989 million which was expected to grow to 1001 million by the year 2018 (Machovina, Feeley & Ripple, 2015). These stats determined that the number of cattle is present in higher amount in brazil and India however, in the later country, people do not consume beef as it is prohibited in the country (Cassidy et al., 2013).

Usage of this beef diet around the world

Beef is one of the widely used of meat product throughout the world and is used by a major section of the world population. If the world statistics is noticed it could be easily visible that the number of people consuming meat in the world is more than 100 billion and hence, it is the widely used meat product in the world (Gerbens-Leenes, Mekonnen & Hoekstra, 2013). If the number of per capita consumption is considered, Canada is one of the major countries that consume beef in the world along with Brazil, Argentina, Hong Kong, Uruguay, USA, Paraguay, Australia, Chile and Kazakhstan. Within this Uruguay is the largest meat or beef consumption related country in world and with Hong Kong and USA, it consumes more than 100 pounds of beef per capita in the world. There are special social, political and religious obligations due to which, there are specific communities and sections of the countries which do not consume beef in their diet or food (Machovina, Feeley & Ripple, 2015). Further, this number of consumption is increasing the increasing number of population in the world and hence such consumption shows that the demand of this is increasing with time and requires more number of cattle beef productions in the world (Preston & Willis, 2013).  

Social Impact:

The Canadian cattle industry presents one of the finest examples of social sustainability. The truth behind the success rate of the cattle raising and production of beef entirely lies upon the hard work of the ranchers and the cattle rearers. The cattle produces work in association with the guidelines of the CCA Animal Health and Care Committee. The idea of sustainable development is to promote continuous improvement and initiate innovation through the process of research, communication and education. The Canadian Animal care and regulations includes the code of practice and for the perfect handling and care of the livestock. The regulations comprise of world class certifications so as to ensure quality in terms of production. Cattle farming accounts for one of the primary component of the Canadian agriculture that yields maximum profit to the nation (Preston & Wills, 2013). Beef serves to be one of the major source of protein in Canada and forms a part of the staple diet for 3/4th of the population. However, current trend in the shift of dietary preferences among the population has resulted in the reduced popularity of beef meat. It should be noted here that, according to a research study conducted by Wicksell (2013), it was found that more than 4 out of 7 people within a specific community are changing their dietary preferences to save risks of developing high cholesterol and hook worm manifestations in their body. In this regard, it should also be noted that research studies reveal that beef meat is high in cholesterol and fat level which impedes with the smooth functioning of blood vessels and causes blockage within the arteries. Further, studies have also reported that beef meat elicits hypertension and cardiac complications (Sheppard et al., 2015); (.National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine,2016) Also, the ruminant gut flora is rich in microbial infestations and comprises of a huge number of worms such as tape worms and hook worms. These microbes on invading the human body causes disorder within the digestive system which further leads to gastrointestinal ailments. On account of the physical health complications the demand for beef within the Canadian community is going down considerably.

Culinary Impact:

Beef meat falls under the category of fat and cholesterol rich food that is known as red meat. The beef meat is used in a number of ways as a part of the Canadian cuisine. It is used for a wide range of cuisine that include, quick meal, complete meal and street food. Canadian cuisine is often stereotyped to be full of meat delicacies. The major ingredient that is used in most of the Canadian delicacies include, ground beef, maple syrup, bacon and poutine. Ground beef is used in most of the Canadian dishes, however typically the speciality if Canadian cuisine is it involves less oil and is often baked. A typical sweet taste owing to the sweet ingredient, maple syrup is extremely common across the nation. Beef meat is used for a wide range of dishes that include, hamburgers and stuffed wraps as popular street food. Further beef is also used as a part of the main course in a number of dishes such as Canadian grilled beef and Red hot beef. A beef-barbeque forms one of the most exquisite Canadian dishes. A typical smoky and grilled methods of cooking style is incorporated while cooking ground beef or any other meat products rich in protein content (Noyes et al., 2016). Hence, it can be said that beef forms to be one of the most important major food ingredient that is used most commonly as a part of the Canadian cuisine and every now and then new attempts to create an innovation in the cooking style is attempted to introduce new delicacies.

Political Impact:

A number of political implications have been witnessed in terms of including beef as a part of the staple cuisine. Under the Criminal code of Canada, the attempt to wound or injure an animal is considered as a criminal offense attracting a massive penalty. This is primarily to protect the animals from any unlawful killing or harming. Animal health is treated as priority in context of the Canadian legal framework. According to the statistical evidence furnished by the scientific studies, it has been predicted that the demand of the Alberta cow has declined over more than 22.75%. Many reasons have been attributed for the same reason with the primary one being the shift of the dietary changes among the people. Several religious communities as well as several Non-Governmental Organisations advocate the rights of the animal and treat the act of consumption of beef as a punishable offence. This also calls for the main reason why there have been many controversies over the ban of the beef meat across many areas in Canada. The political implication of beef is also based upon the heavy environmental expense associated with it. Research studies reveal that the environmental expense associated with the raising of beef cattle is extremely high (DeVries et al., 2015); (Bonesmo et al., 2013); (National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine,2016). It has been mentioned that one calorie of beef meat utilises the water resource up to 11 times and 28 times the land resource which is extremely threatening for the environment (Gerber et al., 2015). Also, it should be mentioned here that the ruminants are heavy contributors of greenhouse gases that actively hamper and degrade the quality of the environment. Studies show that the global emission of green house gases due to cattle rearing in Canada is up to 27 mega tonnes per year and is on the increase on yearly basis (Legesse et al., 2016).

Economic Impact:

Canada produces about 1.3 tonnes of beef meat on a yearly basis. It should be noted here that Canada is one of the largest producers of beef meat and is responsible for the export of 45% beef to the rest of the world (,2018). With close reference to the statistical data retrieved from the industry stats, it can be said that in the year of 2016, Canada exported almost beef equivalent to $2.3 billion which is equal to 359,600 tonnes of beef meat (,2018). Out of this, 39% has been attributed to the domestic slaughter. It should further be noted here that the Canadian beef is exported to 56 countries but the major proportion of meat is exported to the United States of America. The beef export to USA is equivalent to 75% of the total export (,2018). The following export countries include China and Hong Kong that constitute a total of 8% of the export market. In addition to this, Japan accounts for almost 6% of the beef production. Whereas, Mexico accounts for a total of 4% and South Korea a total of only 2%. The other international countries comprise of the remaining 4% with the major 96% being shared by the major export countries (,2018). Studies reveal that during the yearly phase of 2015-2016, Canadian consumers consumed approximately 18 kilograms of beef in a year (,2018); (Bonesmo et al., 2013). Also, according to the statistical figures, it can be said that, the beef cattle industry contributed to the annual GDP of almost $17.2 billion (,2018). The cattle rearing industry thus forms to be an important part of the Canadian economy as it provides ample amount of employment opportunities and at the same time contributes sufficient to the Canadian economy. This accounts for one of the prime reason why Canada has remained unparallel in terms of market competition in the sector of beef production and dairy farming industry.


Hence, to conclude it can be said that the paper has talked about one of most significant constituent of the Canadian staple diet that is beef. The paper has critically discussed the geographical distribution of the best cattle breed across the entire geographical area within the country limits. It should be noted here that the favourable climate and the availability of extensive pasture lands have served to be the major reasons why cattle rearing has become so popular in Canada. It should further be noted that the production of beef meat or red meat as it is known commonly is high in Canada. It should also be noted that a combination of social, political, economical and culinary implications are involved with the beef production. In this regard, it must be mentioned here that on account of the huge availability of the meat, the nation offers a diverse range of Canadian delicacies enriched with the flavour of red meat. However, on critically analyzing the social implication, it can be said that the consumption of beef within the country is gradually going down. A combination of the social factors and environmental factors are supposedly playing a major role in the process. Primary shift in the dietary preferences of the people have been held accountable for the reason of reduced consumption of red meat. The shift has been due to the negative health implications. It should be critically noted here that the Canadian economy is heavily dependent upon the beef production industry. The industry serves as a prime employment opportunity for a wide number of people and also contributes to the Canadian economy at a significant rate.


Bonesmo, H., Beauchemin, K. A., Harstad, O. M., & Skjelvåg, A. O. (2013). Greenhouse gas emission intensities of grass silage based dairy and beef production: a systems analysis of Norwegian farms. Livestock Science, 152(2-3), 239-252.

Cassidy, E. S., West, P. C., Gerber, J. S., & Foley, J. A. (2013). Redefining agricultural yields: from tonnes to people nourished per hectare. Environmental Research Letters, 8(3), 034015. (2018). Industry Stats » The Canadian Cattlemen's Association. Retrieved from

De Vries, M. D., Van Middelaar, C. E., & De Boer, I. J. M. (2015). Comparing environmental impacts of beef production systems: A review of life cycle assessments. Livestock Science, 178, 279-288.

Flysjö, A., Cederberg, C., Henriksson, M., & Ledgard, S. (2012). The interaction between milk and beef production and emissions from land use change–critical considerations in life cycle assessment and carbon footprint studies of milk. Journal of Cleaner Production, 28, 134-142.

Gerbens-Leenes, P. W., Mekonnen, M. M., & Hoekstra, A. Y. (2013). The water footprint of poultry, pork and beef: A comparative study in different countries and production systems. Water Resources and Industry, 1, 25-36.

Gerber, P. J., Mottet, A., Opio, C. I., Falcucci, A., & Teillard, F. (2015). Environmental impacts of beef production: Review of challenges and perspectives for durability. Meat science, 109, 2-12.

Legesse, G., Beauchemin, K. A., Ominski, K. H., McGeough, E. J., Kroebel, R., MacDonald, D., ... & McAllister, T. A. (2016). Greenhouse gas emissions of Canadian beef production in 1981 as compared with 2011. Animal Production Science, 56(3), 153-168.

López-Campos, Ó., Aalhus, J. L., Okine, E. K., Baron, V. S., & Basarab, J. A. (2013). Effects of calf-and yearling-fed beef production systems and growth promotants on production and profitability. Canadian Journal of Animal Science, 93(1), 171-184.

Machovina, B., Feeley, K. J., & Ripple, W. J. (2015). Biodiversity conservation: The key is reducing meat consumption. Science of the Total Environment, 536, 419-431.

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (2016). Nutrient requirements of beef cattle. National Academies Press.

Noyes, N. R., Yang, X., Linke, L. M., Magnuson, R. J., Dettenwanger, A., Cook, S., ... & Yang, H. (2016). Resistome diversity in cattle and the environment decreases during beef production. Elife, 5, e13195.

Preston, T. R., & Willis, M. B. (2013). Intensive beef production. Elsevier.

Preston, T. R., & Willis, M. B. (2013). Intensive beef production. Elsevier. pp.99-111

Ridoutt, B. G., Sanguansri, P., Freer, M., & Harper, G. S. (2012). Water footprint of livestock: comparison of six geographically defined beef production systems. The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 17(2), 165-175.

Sheppard, S. C., Bittman, S., Donohoe, G., Flaten, D., Wittenberg, K. M., Small, J. A., ... & Amiro, B. D. (2015). Beef cattle husbandry practices across ecoregions of Canada in 2011. Canadian Journal of Animal Science, 95(2), 305-321.

Wicksell, K. (2013). Lectures on Political Economy: General Theory. In Lectures on Political Economy (Routledge Revivals)(pp. 29-48). Routledge.


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