Burgers Save the Buffalo

Buffalo were once so numerous on the Great Plains that they looked like blades of grass blowing in the wind. Scientists estimated that 60 million buffalo roamed the plains in 1800. Wanton slaughter of the animals as part of the fur trade by Native Americans and buffalo hunters like “Wild Bill” Hickok, Buffalo Bill Cody, Wyatt Earp and Pat Garrett and by railroad workers for food almost drove the animals to extinction by 1880. A few buffalo survived in Yellowstone Park and on private land. In the 1970s, CNN founder Ted Turner tried to revive the buffalo on his 1.9 million acres of ranch land. He succeeded largely because Americans have acquired a taste for buffalo steaks and burgers. Health experts praise buffalo meat because it is lower in fat than beef, and contains heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Environmentalists are pleased because the animal is once again thriving. Buffalo number more than 500,000, with herd sizes increasing because of the popularity of the meat. Ironically, the buffalo are back because people want to eat them. Buffalo meat is a good protein source because it is low in fat and high in protein. Buffalo meat tastes best when cooked medium rare. (The New York Times, February 12, 2016)

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