Meat-the good and the good news

 Pastural Farming Climate Research newsletter- 14 April 2010

by Robin Grieve

The Herald on Sunday ran an editorial “Meat the good and bad news”

It related to the finding that our sheep meat has a lower carbon footprint than European sheep meat when sold in Europe, despite the food miles.

This was the good news.

The AgResearch analysis bears out what farmers have long been saying: that food miles are only a small part of the equation and that European and American sheepmeat production techniques have huge energy costs that farming of pasture-fed animals does not incur.


Then the bad news.

But the figures tell a darker story: 80 per cent of the carbon emissions are generated before the animals are even trucked out the farm gate.


The editorial concluded

there is no getting away from the fact that we all need to eat less meat.

Where does one start? People who call for us to eat less meat based on carbon emissions but do not make the same call for a reduction in rice consumption, which is also a significant producer of methane, have I believe questionable motives. A number of vegetarians, Paul McCartney and Dr Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman of the IPCC, to name a couple have been very vocal in trying to get people to eat less meat.

I have nothing against vegetarians as such, I find them a bit quirky sometimes but what annoys me is that many of them seem to think that their lifestyle choice is better than that of meat eaters like me and they seem to think we need converting. This is either arrogance on their part or it is because they know that vegetarianism is not natural for an omnivore and they want more and more people to adopt it so they feel less unnatural.

Either way they are wrong about meat and global warming. Agreserch is wrong too, as is the editor of the Sunday Herald. For Agresearch the problem is their lack of ability to process logical thought. Anyone who can not figure out that an animal who emits a greenhouse gas that came from the atmosphere, and not under the ground, and is merely returning the gas to the atmosphere from whence it came, can not be causing global warming obviously struggles with logical thinking.

For the vegetarians who try to convert us to their cause it is possibly a bit of the above combined with a lack of iron in their blood. It could also be they see global warming as an excellent vehicle to push their cause and give it more prominence than it deserves. To them the illogical nature of their claims is irrelevant because their cause is more important than the truth,

As for the editor of the Sunday Herald, well to conclude “there is no getting away from the fact that we all need to eat less meat” indicates misplaced trust in Agresearch which is no longer an organisation that should be believed. It also indicates lack of logic and critical thinking and a lack of understanding as to what the theory of global warming is all about, ie increasing greenhouse gas in the atmosphere which livestock can not do.

A contributor on the Herald website named ‘Decline and Fall’ made this comment which is very clever. Sadly I fear the sarcasm may be too subtle and the wit too clever for the average climate scientist or Agresearch employee and those of Sir Paul McCartney’s ilk.



Decline and Fall

The problem is all the oil and coal we are running our sheep on. Farmers need to learn from the biofuels industry, which is powered by plants that need CO2 to grow, thereby making vehicle emissions “carbon neutral”.

I have been experimenting with stuff called ‘grass’. Initial results seem promising.