Mitloehner Busts Myth of Meatless MondaysWed, 03 Sep 2014 12:17:04 CDT
Dr. Frank Mitloehner of the University of California Davis is a champion when it comes to telling the story of green house gas emissions as it relates to the beef industry. Through his research, he has found beef cattle produce 1.4 percent of all of the greenhouse gases in the United States.
"There are many people out there that claim that things like Meatless Mondays will make a big difference," Mitloehner said.
Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm News Director Ron Hays caught up with Dr. Mitloehner recently at his UC Davis office. You can listen to the second part of this series by Clicking on the LISTEN BAR below.
In assuming that the beef industry produces 1.4 percent of the nation's green house gas emissions, then by not eating beef one day a week that figure 1.4 percent would be divided by seven. Mitloehner said if all 300 million Americans were to stop eating beef on Mondays, then green house gas emissions would be reduced by 0.2 percent.
While green house gas emissions would be reduced, its a fairly small amount relative to other sources of green house gases. Mitloehner said the transportation sector in the US represents 26 percent and energy production contributes 31 percent of the nation's green house gases.
"The reason I give you those numbers is because numbers matter," Mitloehner said. "The people that have a problem with animal agriculture keep quoting that FAO report saying livestock produces more greenhouse gases than transportation."
Mitloehner disagreed with the report titled "Livestock's Long Shadow" and he wrote a rebuttal paper in discussing their assumptions and calculations. Since the initial Food and Agriculture Organization paper was released that report has been retracted. As long as groups keep quoting that inaccurate report, he said this will be something the beef industry needs to deal with as Meatless Mondays aren't just a California thing. He said they exist all over the country as it is a public policy tool to defeat animal agriculture.
Over the last few year's the nation's beef checkoff sponsored the "Beef Sustainability Project". The director of sustainability research for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association is Dr. Kim Stackhouse. She is one of Mitloehner's former graduate students. Mitloehner supports the project's methodology.
"I have followed this work pretty closely and I can tell you that I think this is the most comprehensive work that has ever been done in any country in the area of beef," Mitloehner said. "Because they don't just look at the carbon footprint, they also looked at the water footprint, not just environmental but also other sustainability areas."
Mitloehner said this the 'Beef Sustainability Project has done something very important in being proactive and this project is leading the livestock and poultry pack right now.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network- but is also a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today's show- and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
Click here to listen or read part one of this series with Dr. Frank Mitloehner addressing green house gas emmissions of livestock.
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