Podcast Episode 239: Animal Agriculture & Its Environmental Impact with Tara Vander Dussen

Today, Samantha is joined by Tara Vander Dussen, a fifth generation dairy farmer who happens to be married to another fifth generation dairy farmer. Daniel, her husband, manages the day to day on the farm, while Tara has her own career as an environmental consultant, online agriculture advocate and podcaster. In this episode, in response to the current global, political push towards meat and milk alternatives, Tara addresses some common misconceptions around animal protein production and consumption and their respective environmental and health impacts.   


In this episode of The Wellness Witch Podcast:

  • Poking holes in the anti-meat narrative
  • How cattle can actually be an ecological net positive 
  • Animal protein: local sustainability vs global sustainability
  • What happens when we remove animal products from our diet?
  • Animal agriculture’s role in reducing climate change 
  • Why there’s no comparison between cow’s milk and milk alternatives


Click here to listen on iTunes, Stitcher, or Spotify:

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This show is sponsored by:




Where to find Tara:


Where to find Samantha:

This show is produced by Soulfire Productions

Top 3 relevant quotes:

  • “People always say, ‘Cattle are taking up so much land’, but a lot of the land that cattle are grazing on is what’s called marginal land. It is not suitable for crops.”  
    • Tara
    • 10:17
  •  “People seem to think that by choosing plant-based options means they are supporting local or smaller companies, but that’s not the case anymore. Most of these plant-based alternatives are owned by large food companies.”
    • Tara
    • 14:06
  • “I have seen it time and time again: women who are on vegan diets that are super nutrient deprived, have more dental issues and cavities because they’re not getting that saturated fat. It’s not about not eating plants, it’s about finding the balance between all of it.”
    • Samantha
    • 21:43
  • “Agriculture, as a whole, can’t just change it’s whole system. It’s an evolution of us being able to work towards the common goal and put new practices into place. If everyone makes some sort of progress, we’re moving in the right direction.”
    • Tara
    • 28:03
  • “I don’t think it’s accurate to compare a glass of cow’s milk to a glass of almond milk, or another milk alternative, on greenhouse gas emissions, because cow’s milk is almost a full meal. We should be looking at carbon emissions vs nutrient density.”
    • Tara
    • 31:37
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