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The Forum > Article Comments > Factoring meat into our carbon footprint > Comments

Factoring meat into our carbon footprint : Comments

By Brian Sherman, published 30/7/2007

Reducing meat and dairy consumption, or even better becoming a vegetarian, is an easy way to help address global warming.

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I disagree, meat should not be entirely eliminated from the human diet; reduced consumption from modified production methods I accept. Caged and feed lot production is undoubtably abhorrent but there is a strong argument that our ancestors derived the enlarged brain from the hunting way and the special fats in their meat diet. The world produces only about 1.7 billion tonnes per year of grains and sugars so unnecessarily feeding grain to animals is not sustainable, particularly while there are people starving. Also we may need to convert some agricultural land to production of energy but this will make only a small contribution to our current liguid energy supply as we presently consume about 3.6 billion tonnes of such fuels per annum. Such conversion will reduce the food available to eliminate starvation.
However there are significant areas of grasslands that are not suitable for grain, fruit or vegetable production so utilising this land for meat or wool production would seem sensible. Instead of 70kg of meat per person per year we could probably prosper health wise on 30kg or less than 100g per day.
Posted by Foyle, Monday, 30 July 2007 11:09:56 AM
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One of the indications of a animal being under stress is the failure of the reproductive processes to function effectively. This is often manifested in the failure of the animal to conceive.

The humble chook, confined in a cage in a large airconditioned shed, seems to be under no such stress as she lays eggs like they are going out of fashion. Likewise the sow in the comfort of her pen is producing little piglets as fast as nature will allow.

If these animals were under undue stress, this would not be happening and we would not be reaping the benefits of the cheap eggs and bacon which we enjoy for breakfast.
Posted by VK3AUU, Monday, 30 July 2007 11:29:29 AM
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Foyle, I'm with you on this. Changing wholly to a vegetarian or vegan diet will not address the current problems as presented by the author, nor will it significantly alter anything. And you are right, humans evolved precisely because of the meat in their diet. Evolution is still taking place. I'm not sure the writer has fully thought through the entire situation. It seems not. Of course, nobody likes animals being mistreated or being kept unnaturally confined, but production methods do not have to be like that, and indeed, legislation is being enacted to ensure they are more humanely treated.
Posted by arcticdog, Monday, 30 July 2007 1:15:37 PM
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Now let me see. My ewes and lambs happily graze the pastures.
If they didn't, the pastures would grow and grow, build up
a huge fuel load. In summer, on the first lightning strike,
the whole lot would go up in a ball of flames.That kind of
fire front would of course take any forests with it. So much
for doing anything except create a huge fire hazard!

My lambs aren't factory farmed, enjoy their lives. I don't
think they really care what happens to them after they die,
for I certainly don't. I guess the worms could recycle them,
as they do with us humans.

Perhaps the author should consider some tasty lamb in his
diet, its quite healthy too!

Farming can in fact do something in terms of carbon. We are
doing that, like using no till/deep till points. That means
that soil carbon levels are rocketing upwards, carbon sequestration
in action
Posted by Yabby, Monday, 30 July 2007 2:08:52 PM
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I agree with Brian Sherman wholeheartedly. Mostly because although humans are naturally selfish and just canít help ourselves- we just HAVE to exploit anything that moves, I oppose the slaughter of animals.

It is rather misleading to suggest that if animals were stressed they would not provide eggs in the case of chickens or provide young in the case of pigs. The author of such nonsense needs to research before making claims.

Animals including humans will breed even if their environment is extremely stressful. Take a look at people who are starving - they continue to breed like thereís no tomorrow. The physiological reaction in animals like chickens and pigs who are prevented from expressing natural behaviours is to transfer the body's effort at natural resistance to disease to coping with stresses and these manifests in severe weakness to prevent the animal from becoming a melting pot for disease.

To explain more take a look at http://www.birdflubook.com - a read which will enlighten those who are intent in refusing to see the bleeding obvious!

Pigs are notorious at harbouring diseases which affect humans and so the stresses these smart creatures suffer while caged in intensive farming prisons manifest as diseases which are easily passed on.

For those of you who just cannot see past yourselves and your stomach- who have a lack of compassion for those who quite frankly donít want to die- please donít eat those animals from intensive prison systems.

They are the cruellest of the cruellest of places.
Posted by Anna101, Monday, 30 July 2007 2:10:47 PM
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Changing peoples' diet may seem a simple way to reduce our footprint on the planet, but in reality our diets are so much part of our culture, so deeply ingrained as a right, so that it is very hard to change peoples' mindset. Vegetarian/vegan food is scorned as pure tasteless vegetables, but the reality is totally different. It's just that it has not been commercialised enough. Animal fats are derived from animal products, but even health reason don't stop people basing their diets on it. Animal cruelty is even further down the list of reasons to change! Even ngos such as Greenpeace and Al Gore's LiveEarth will not acknowledge meat eating's impact on the environment. The horrific practices in factory farming are hidden away from public view to make sure we are not confronted with this reality and cruelty.
Posted by Milly, Monday, 30 July 2007 5:22:40 PM
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