Thursday, September 13, 2007

"Eat less meat, reduce global heat" -- But Why Stop at 10% ?

Reducing meat consumption is a great way to reduce carbon emissions, according to an article in the respected scientific journal, The Lancet (CBC News Report). While the scientific article itself is not openly accessible, here's what the Summary of the article on the Lancet's web site says:
"Worldwide average meat consumption could be realistically reduced by 10% to reduce the already substantial impact of livestock production on greenhouse gas emissions. This would also reduce health risks associated with very high consumption of red meat. The fifth paper in the series entitled "Food, livestock production, energy, climate change, and health." comments that the Global average meat consumption is currently 100g per person per day, with about a ten-fold variation between high-consuming and low-consuming populations. 90g per day is proposed as a working global target, shared more evenly, and with not more than 50g per day coming from red meat from ruminants (i.e., cattle, sheep, goats, and other digrastic grazers)."
But as I've said before, who needs meat anyway? Tasty vegetarian food can easily give you all the proteins you need, and could even make you healthier. Good for you, good for the planet and tastes great -- the time is now!


On CBC Radio News, a representative of the Canadian cattle industry has claimed that they could actually benefit from the Lancet report. He argued that Canadian cattle spend more of their time in open pastures than on feedlots than in other countries, and manure dropped on pastures actually returns carbon to the soil. He even predicted a rise in Canadian beef exports as other countries realize the benefits of Canada's "green" beef.

What a load of B.S., almost literally! Canadian cattle cannot possibly spend all their time outside -- at least until Global Warming wipes out the little thing that dumps snow all over the ground and makes the air too cold for cattle to be outside for months on end... What's it called? Oh, yeah, Canadian Winter! The carbon in cattle manure on the ground has to come from plants and soil in the first place -- why not leave most of it there instead of cycling it through cattle? As I've mentioned, we could feed many more people on the same amount of land (or use less land for the same population) if we didn't run the nutrients through the wasteful animal cycle, but fed the crops directly to people. Finally, the methane that cattle belch out or fart just goes into the atmosphere a little bit faster if the cows are outside.

In any event, meat exports mean refrigerated/freezer containers being shipped to other countries -- more carbon emissions from an already cruel and polluting industry.

(Hmm... why do I feel hungry for a good vegetarian meal all of a sudden?.. The black beans, spices, veggies, pressure cooker and cast-iron skillet beckon... :-)

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