Argentinian Ranching Heritage Dwindles

ARGENTINA - Analysts are alarmed that Argentinian breeding cows are being sold for slaughter in the country's largest market, fearing that the move might see Argentinian ranchers disappear one day soon.
calendar icon 29 August 2008
clock icon 1 minute read

Argentina is a leading beef exporter and Argentines eat more steak than anyone else in the world - nearly 152 pounds (69 kilograms) per year, compared with the 95 pounds (43 kg) eaten by the average American.

But ranchers are selling off female animals to give up their herds and move into more profitable activities, such as soy farming, reports The Guardian.

According to the online newspaper, some industry analysts say the country could soon be forced to import beef for the first time - something unthinkable in a nation famed for its tender, grass-fed beef reared on the Pampas plains.

"The cow is the star nowadays. They're slaughtering more females than male animals, and that affects the production line," Alejandro Paternostro, who has spent his whole working life herding cattle at the Liniers market, told The Guardian.

The number of female cows, as opposed to male steer, being slaughtered has jumped over the last two years. Government figures show cows now account for half the cattle being sold for consumption, up from 40 percent in 2006.

Disgruntled ranchers blame government policies for forcing them to sell off their herds.

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