Environmentalist Or Meat-Eater? Must We Choose?

US - You view yourself as faultlessly environmentally minded because you ride a bike, buy biological food and carefully choose your butcher ? Wrong ! You are more dangerous for the planet that a SUV-driving vegetarian. Such is the latest page on the American greenies’ songbook.
calendar icon 21 September 2007
clock icon 1 minute read

It is hardly news that meat-eating is an energetically aberration: we have known since the 1960s that 10 kilos (22 pounds) of cereals are needed to produce a kilo of beef; that we use five times more water to produce beef proteins than soya proteins; and that we need five to ten times more soil to generate animal proteins as compared to vegetal ones.

To this list, which is already likely to shame any socially responsible carnivore, we must now add the impact of animal rearing on climate change. Beware: this doesn’t arise solely because of farts and excrement from livestock, which, as we are now realising, are constituted of methane and nitrous oxide which generate fifty times more greenhouse effect than carbon dioxide. What is new is that we can at long last measure with precision the amount of fossil combustible used by the food production chain.

In November 2006, a UN report had sounded the alarm: the meat industry appears to generate more greenhouse gases than the combination of all means of transportation. On September 12, The Lancet, the prestigious medical journal, corroborated this finding in a series of articles on "Energy and Health": The rearing of animals intended for our alimentation represent one quarter of greenhouse gases emitted on our planet.

Source: Rue89
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