Following up on the column I wrote about taking steps in our personal lives to conserve natural resources, I got an email from Karen Christensen, who runs Mack Brook Farm in Argyle, where they raise beef in a green and humane manner. Her position is that the problems with eating beef go away when the cattle are raised on pasture, are not fed a diet of grain and antibiotics and are handled humanely, including when they are taken to be slaughtered. I agree with her. The great thing about cattle is they can turn grass, which people cannot eat, into tasty protein. In a natural setting, their manure doesn't turn into a giant methane-producing lake but enriches the soil. I don't feel it's inherently cruel to slaughter and eat animals, but I do object to the industrial farming that keeps them in huge crowds or tiny pens, as if they're just another crop, like corn. Those things don't happen on pastoral farms like Mack Brook.