Wednesday, July 18


Here's yet another study quantifying the toll meat-eating takes on the environment, specifically in terms of greenhouse gases. We really need to round these up into a central database (especially one that will convert these crazy metric numbers) for easy access. But in the meantime...

"A kilogram of beef is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions and other pollution than driving for 3 hours while leaving all the lights on back home," says a New Scientist article headlined 'Meat is murder on the environment.' This is from a study by the National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science in Tsukuba, Japan, which found that "producing a kilogram of beef leads to the emission of greenhouse gases with a warming potential equivalent to 36.4 kilograms of carbon dioxide." Or for the rest of us, producing one pound of beef generates about 18 pounds of carbon dioxide.

Interestingly, "the calculations, which are based on standard industrial methods of meat production in Japan, did not include the impact of managing farm infrastructure and transporting the meat, so the total environmental load is higher than the study suggests," the article informs us (my emphasis). Another clue that this is not standard 'journalistic' writing is that after the usual pointless "remedies" for the problem (in this case delivering yet more suffering on the mothers of calves) and hand-waving from the NCBA, the piece ends with a bang, with a quote from Su Taylor of the Vegetarian Society: Everybody is trying to come up with different ways to reduce carbon footprints. But one of the easiest things you can do is to stop eating meat."

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