Global Warming: Meat Production Impact Challenged

US - The American Meat Institute (AMI), in conjunction with the American Meat Science Association (AMSA), are taking on the environmental lobby over the global warming effects of livestock production.
calendar icon 8 December 2011
clock icon 1 minute read

The challenge comes in the fourth installment of seven new myth-crushing videos, which AMI claims, aims to set the record straight about myths associated with the environmental impact of meat production.

The video, featuring Dr Judith Capper, associate professor, department of animal sciences, Washington State University, points to an oft cited-quote from a 2006 United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) study claiming: “Livestock are responsible for 18 per cent of greenhouses gases, a bigger share than transport.”

The AMI said that this error went largely unchallenged for several years until Dr Frank Mitloehner, at the University of California Davis, examined the FAO claim and discovered the calculation was based on an unequal application of lifecycle assessments.

The livestock sector’s true contribution to GHG emissions is around three per cent, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

“Beef has made an incredible contribution over the last 30 years,” Dr Capper said.

“Advances in management, nutrition, genetics, health welfare, all of these things have made our farms more productive, more efficient. … We’ve cut the total carbon footprint per pound of beef by 18 per cent.”

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