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The Forum > General Discussion > Can Victoria afford a Beef Industry?

Can Victoria afford a Beef Industry?

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The CSIRO Home Energy Saving Handbook touts the benefits of a vegetarian diet. Such a diet will both reduce your carbon footprint and improve your general health and wellbeing. Here is the relevant link to the CSIRO website

http://www.csiro.au/resources/Energy-Saving-Handbook--ci_pageNo-4.html#5

The Home Energy Saving Handbook website points to the website of another CSIRO publication, The CSIRO Healthy Heart Program. Here is the relevant link

http://www.csiro.au/org/Healthy-Heart-Program.html

Beef farmers are understandably upset with the CSIRO. No one likes having their livelihoods threatened. Victorian state Liberal MP John Vogels, who represents a farming area, had this to say:

"CSIRO should be forced to apologise to Australian livestock and diary farmers for publishing a flawed climate change handbook urging people to eat less red meat and adopt vegetarian diets,"

"[Home Energy Saving Handbook is] thinly veiled propaganda advocating Australians change to a vegetarian lifestyle in the name of reducing greenhouse gas emissions".

"If the populace took this book seriously our beef, sheepmeat, pork, poultry and dairy industries would be at risk because the authors want everyone to move to vegetable diets to reduce personal carbon footprints,"

"The best contribution these books could make to stop climate change would be for every copy to be taken off the shelves, pulped and recycled as toilet paper,"

(Quoted in The Age, http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/hot-air-over-csiros-new-enviro-diet-20090925-g518.html)

But can an increasingly water-short state Like Victoria afford a beef industry?

The average Melburnian consumes 50-60 thousand litres of water annually. That's direct consumption through the taps.

However it takes 17,000 litres of water to produce one kilo of beef. (Chapagain and Hoekstra, WATER FOOTPRINT OF NATIONS, VOLUME 1, PAGE 41)

With every kilogram of beef an Australian consumes 17,000 litres of "virtual water".

Vegetable alternatives to beef, such as soybeans, require a mere 2-3 thousand litres. Substitute just 4 kg of vegetable products for beef per year and you save the equivalent of an average Melburnian's annual water consumption.

Beef is the most water hungry meat. Here are the water requirements per kg for other meats:

Pork: 6,000 litres

Mutton or lamb: 7,000

Chicken: 3,000

Something to think about?
Posted by Edasich, Saturday, 26 September 2009 11:56:23 AM
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Worth noting Australia's first meat exports came via the dairy industry.
Northern NSW cracker cows and cross breed bread to keep cows in milk went into American hamburgers.
So milk has to be taken into consideration too.
And in my view, as a near vegetarian, worth wondering why some are so against what others eat.
We will always eat meat, always be able to sell it, and that ensures we will one day find ways to re use water save it, recycle it.
I doubt however we will ever eat only vegetables.
I eat to continue weight loss and stay healthy but meat is a must for my good health.
Posted by Belly, Saturday, 26 September 2009 6:12:58 PM
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*However it takes 17,000 litres of water to produce one kilo of beef*

Perhaps we had better clarify a few things here. Do not confuse
intensive, mainly grain eating beef production, as is practised
in Europe or the USA, with the largely pasture raised beef in
Australia.

Now what if there were no cows or sheep to eat that grass? The
result would be a huge fuel load, right across the countryside
and nearly every summer you'd land up with another megafire, only
much larger then anything we have seen before, as cows and sheep
munching pasture create wonderful firebreaks.

Turning useless grass into human food makes perfect sense. The
CSIRO cookbook tells us that eating lean meat in moderation is
very healthy.
Posted by Yabby, Saturday, 26 September 2009 7:29:11 PM
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*However it takes 17,000 litres of water to produce one kilo of beef*

So just were does this figure come from and how is it calculated.

I would suggest that 'lot feeding' beef consumes the most water and, having done the calculations, 400 days on grass, then 100 days in a lot feed, that equates to 8,500 liters, or 850 2 galon buckets of water per day, per head and, considering only 20% of this time is in lot feeding, one has to wonder.

Sorry, but hat just does not seem possible.
Posted by rehctub, Saturday, 26 September 2009 10:31:52 PM
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I think the best people to decide if we should produce beef are

The folk who eat it and the folk who grow it.

Rather than some government paid and appointed functionary in the CSIRO.

We have another thread running… “Useless Guinness Records”

Where someone thinks the GBR should be curtailed and restrained from recording silly records.

This is the same debate, except we are talking “beef eating” versus “record reporting”.

The real, underlying debate is

Should people who are responsible for electing government be told, by the offices of government and their paid experts, what to do and what to eat

Or

Should the people, who elect government and fund the taxes from which experts are paid, be “respected” and allowed to make up their own choices and decisions.

For me it is a slam-dunk –

The consumer (aka the great unwashed), actually know their own circumstances best and will ultimately, make better personal choices, than the choices which remote third-party bureaucratic “experts” would seek to impose upon them.

and the cost curves of Supply and Demand can determine the amount of beef which is ultimately eaten
Posted by Col Rouge, Sunday, 27 September 2009 11:34:26 AM
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It really is a pity to see a once great organisation like the CSIRO become nothing than a poor excuse of another government spin office.

I have my doubts that the UN was ever much use, except as a place to park useless ex pollies, but the CSIRO was once really useful, & filled an important roll. Now it's about as useful as tits on a bull, as the saying goes.

Not only would it make a lot of sense to stop wasting our money, paying into the UN, [before Rudd gets his job there], but sadly it's time to close the CSIRO, & send the dead heads who now fill it's halls, off to do something useful.

Perhaps they could hand clear the rubber vine, from some northern national parks, for a start. Can't think of much else they could handle, at the moment.
Posted by Hasbeen, Sunday, 27 September 2009 12:27:07 PM
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