The National Cattlemen's Beef Association (NCBA) would not approve; here's a prestigious UN report that strongly suggests we eat less meat, not because of health reasons but to mitigate global warming. Turns out that producing, transporting and eating meat create 18% of all global warming gases (well, maybe not eating it unless you masticate it for an inordinate time;) transportation creates the next-largest amount at 13%. From the Guardian:
People should have one meat-free day a week if they want to make a personal and effective sacrifice that would help tackle climate change, the world's leading authority on global warming has told The Observer
Dr Rajendra Pachauri [Nobel Prize winner in 2007,] chair of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which last year earned a joint share of the Nobel Peace Prize, said that people should then go on to reduce their meat consumption even further.
His comments are the most controversial advice yet provided by the panel on how individuals can help tackle global warning.
Pachauri, who was re-elected the panel's chairman for a second six-year term last week, said diet change was important because of the huge greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental problems - including habitat destruction - associated with rearing cattle and other animals. It was relatively easy to change eating habits compared to changing means of transport, he said.
The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation has estimated that meat production accounts for nearly a fifth of global greenhouse gas emissions. These are generated during the production of animal feeds, for example, while ruminants, particularly cows, emit methane, which is 23 times more effective as a global warming agent than carbon dioxide. The agency has also warned that meat consumption is set to double by the middle of the century.
However, Chris Lamb, head of marketing for pig industry group BPEX, said the meat industry had been unfairly targeted and was working hard to find out which activities had the biggest environmental impact and reduce those. Some ideas were contradictory, he said - for example, one solution to emissions from livestock was to keep them indoors, but this would damage animal welfare. 'Climate change is a very young science and our view is there are a lot of simplistic solutions being proposed,' he said.
[Image by skinnydey licensed by Creative Commons]