Mark Zuckerberg is under fire for posting a picture to his social media accounts of his "most delicious" project yet: a large steak from a cow to whom he fed ground macadamia nuts and beer. The picture, posted on Jan. 9, 2024, is accompanied by a caption in which he paints the disturbing operation as a family-run venture involving his daughters.
As Zuckerberg embraces his latest hobby and earns the scorn from those who feel the billionaire's latest venture is a wildly unethical climate catastrophe waiting to happen, here's what to know about the backlash Zuckerberg has received and insight into his Kauai ranch operations.
Mark Zuckerberg's Kauai ranch, Ko'olau Ranch: here's what to know.
According to a WIRED report, Zuckerberg's 1,400-acre compound in Kauai, Hawaii's smallest island, will end up costing nearly $300 million to build. The construction of the compound, known as Ko'olau Ranch, is still in progress as of January 2024.
The development of the property, which features an underground shelter connecting two mansions, was shrouded in secrecy, non-disclosure agreements, and, according to the WIRED report, the political red tape privilege one might expect is afforded to a multi-billionaire.
Zuckerberg first began purchasing land to build Ko'olau Ranch in the summer of 2014. According to the Robb Report, speculation exists whether the Zuckerberg family will live there full-time or utilize the area as a retreat.
Regardless of the family's short- and long-term plans, Zuckerberg has so far hosted corporate events on the property, and according to the Jan. 9 Facebook post, there are additional plans beyond that.
Mark Zuckerberg is being criticized for showing off his beef consumption on his Kauai ranch.
"The cattle are Wagyu and Angus, and they'll grow up eating macadamia meal and drinking beer that we grow and produce here on the ranch," Zuckerberg captioned a photo of himself smiling next to a plate of beef.
He added that his daughters take care of other animals on the compound and plant macadamia trees to keep up with the "5,000-10,000 pounds of food each year" that each cow consumes.
In response, many across the internet are criticizing Zuckerberg for proudly sharing a photo of himself eating a cow he raised on the ranch, and for multiple reasons.
Much of the Wagyu beef-eating crowd are sold on a fantasy idea of cows being massaged by caring ranchers as they relax while they consume beer. In actuality, these cows getting massages is a myth, as is their beer consumption — they are usually fed alcohol-free beer residues, as per Sentient Media). Many believe that cows raised for Wagyu or Angus beef are somehow treated better than other cows — but that isn't the case.
Wagyu cows raised for their meat often have their horns burned from their skulls without so much as a painkiller, according to PETA. The organization also notes that the famed "marbled" look of Wagyu beef is actually due to the fatty buildup from the massive amount of weight the cows are forced to gain, as they remain intensely confined until they are slaughtered for their flesh.
Not to mention, Zuckerberg's environmental footprint from his cow-raising operations is massive, exacerbated by the greenhouse gas emissions that beef products, according to Plant Based News — an egregious measure as Zuck consumes the resources of Hawaii's oldest island.
Per The Guardian, the billionaire's newest hobby has rightfully been criticized for its resource-intensive nature, which results in devastating global heating and climate change. In fact, the outlet notes, when it comes to the emissions associated with growing food, beef is responsible for about 25 percent of these emissions.
Plant Based News spoke with Nicholas Carter, Director of Environmental Science at the Game Changers Institute, who stated: “Zuckerberg could ship a kilo of macadamia nuts about 200 times around the world before its greenhouse gases matched those of a kilo of his local beef.”
BuccoCapital Guy, a popular Twitter account, tweeted that according to his calculations, "Zuckerberg is using 8.4 million gallons of water for each cow. Better be a good steak."
"You really fulfilled that dream of putting food in your mouth in the manner that causes the most climate change possible for a human being,” WIRED author Andy Greenberg chimed in on social media.
Additionally, PETA swiftly responded to Zuck's post by launching a new campaign, called “Every Animal Is Someone.”
PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said in a statement shared with Green Matters: “In 2024, PETA is calling on everyone, including billionaires who often feel everything and everyone exists for their use, to help build a more compassionate world for all.”