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Environmental impact of the meat industry



  • AlchemistAlchemist OxfordPosts: 214
    I’ve been reading this thread with interest. I find this matter had been a concern for many decades now.  The book, diet for a small planet published in 1970’s (outside this charged time’s) which I’ve had since 90’s is a great read and the updated one is even better. Here the environmental economics / calorie cost of obtaining nutrients from plants vs animal source is explained. This book certainly convinced me in no uncertain terms that mass meat consumption (carbon aside) is still bad in many ways.
  • Allotment BoyAllotment Boy North London Posts: 2,322
    I am a bit late to this but I did watch the programme. I used to like Liz Bonnin and yes she is a qualified scientist but on more than one occasion recently I think her presenting has had an over emotional style. Someone if not her has decided that it has more impact if she apparently shows how upset she is by what she sees. 
    I do agree with others we need to tackle this, meat used to be a treat, portion control is one of the big issues even dedicated carnivores should not eat more than 6-8oz of meat at a time as our digestive systems cant cope with more & it is simply eliminated. Food waste is at least as big an issue as overproduction but the factory systems shown should be stopped.  
    AB Still learning

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 30,065
    I've been avoiding commenting on this, but for what it's worth, I'm rapidly geting tired of being berated for every s*dding thing we do or don't do.
    If we get rid of all the sheep for example, what would the anti meat lobby suggest using that land for? 
    There's a very good reason why large swathes of land are used for sheep. Perhaps they could all be sent to those areas to give it a go....  :D
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • amancalledgeorgeamancalledgeorge South LondonPosts: 884
    Get the vegans to do the grazing @Fairygirl 😂 they'll feel even more self righteous as they tuck in some dandelions. That said, nicely steamed with a vinaigrette they are delicious.
    To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 24,640
    I once heard a vegan repsond to this by saying " plough up the land and grow crops" to which I replied. " sheep often graze on steep hillsides: good luck ploughing that up"
    She didn't reply!
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 24,640
    Get the vegans to do the grazing @Fairygirl 😂 they'll feel even more self righteous as they tuck in some dandelions. That said, nicely steamed with a vinaigrette they are delicious.
    Steamed vegans, now there's a thought. 
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 30,065
    edited November 2019
    @amancalledgeorge - good idea. Send them to live on a Welsh hillside, or perhaps one of the many Scottish sheep farms in Inver-naewhere for a year or two.

    That'll maybe put their gas at a peep  :D
    @Hostafan1- that just proves how woefully inadequate their understanding is of how anything works. ;)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • I have to agree with Allotment Boy I started to watch the programme and could see the way it was going jumping from one country to the other to show how horrible meat eaters are, and Liz Bonnin's face said it all especially when she usually looks so cheerful. It was a bit like another programme that I didn't watch, Emily Maitlis interviewing Prince Edward she should ask the questions and let the viewer make their own minds up not stand looking daggers at the interviewee. Of course the BBC finds it impossible to be impartial these days.
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 24,640
    IMHO it'd be impossible to have a programme on this subject where nobody felt there some form of bias. Vegans and meat eater are unlikely to accept it as "impartial" from the BBC or anyone else.
  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 3,817

    Just to be clear, I've read the Committee on Climate Change's report (yes, all of it). It doesn't anywhere suggest that we should all become vegetarian, not remotely. It suggests that the number of people that are eating meat EVERY DAY for at least 2 meals a day is problematic and that people should be encouraged to REDUCE - not eliminate - meat in their diets.

    It's neither preachy nor an emotional report. It's a very hard nosed document that doesn't pull its punches but which keeps well clear of handwringing or emotional blackmail. If you want to understand the issue without the overblown sentimentality then I highly recommend it, at least in its summary form, as a reliable source of information.

    Even so, it makes very sobering reading - the amount of change we need to address is substantial. It makes me very sad that so many respondents have replied along the lines of 'until there's a perfect answer I'll not consider making any changes at all, however small' and/or 'if China can continue to burn coal then I can continue to do whatever I like'.

    There are plenty of examples of legal/political action being taken unilaterally by a small number of countries leading multilateral action when it's shown that the arguments against action don't stand up.

    For what it's worth, I completely agree that extensively reared meat has relatively little impact, compared to arable farming on some of the same land. But extensively reared meat is more expensive than factory farmed, and we all expect food to be cheap. It would benefit careful farmers as well as people with a weight problem and the climate if we stuck to the same meat budgets but bought much higher welfare products. Personally I think that reducing meat in people's diets and replacing it with beans merely moves the source of methane rather than eliminating it. But I support the intention - that we should all THINK a bit about our choices and the impacts they have that we can't see. 

    Eating meat two or three days a week rather than 7 is not a hardship. I've done it for years. Meat - especially fast food - is a bad habit, not a farming necessity. And the climate debate cannot be considered in terms of absolutes - perfectly good or perfectly bad. It's balance of harm that has to be managed and every sensible decision has a compromise behind it.

    I'll put my soapbox away. 

    As you were.....
    “This isn't life in the fast lane, it's life in the oncoming traffic.”
    ― Terry Pratchett
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