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posted by janrinok on Wednesday July 23 2014, @04:25PM   Printer-friendly
from the order-another-burger dept.

Research into the environmental impact of animal-based foods has concluded that beef has the greatest impact by a large margin (Full text [pdf]).

When the numbers were in, including those for the environmental costs of different kinds of feed (pasture, roughage such as hay, and concentrates such as corn), the team developed equations that yielded values for the environmental cost per calorie and then per unit of protein, for each food.

The calculations showed that the biggest culprit, by far, is beef. That was no surprise, say Milo and Shepon. The surprise was in the size of the gap: In total, eating beef is more costly to the environment by an order of magnitude about ten times on average than other animal-derived foods, including pork and poultry. Cattle require on average 28 times more land and 11 times more irrigation water, are responsible for releasing 5 times more greenhouse gases, and consume 6 times as much nitrogen, as eggs or poultry. Poultry, pork, eggs and dairy all came out fairly similar. That was also surprising, because dairy production is often thought to be relatively environmentally benign. But the research shows that the price of irrigating and fertilizing the crops fed to milk cows as well as the relative inefficiency of cows in comparison to other livestock jacks up the cost significantly.

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  • (Score: 2) by hoochiecoochieman on Wednesday July 23 2014, @04:32PM

    by hoochiecoochieman (4158) on Wednesday July 23 2014, @04:32PM (#72827)

    Actually beef is not my favourite meat. One more reason for me to stick with pork, chicken and fish.

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  • (Score: 3, Informative) by meisterister on Wednesday July 23 2014, @04:38PM

    by meisterister (949) on Wednesday July 23 2014, @04:38PM (#72831) Journal

    +1 to this. I don't really see why people like beef so much, when pork is generally far easier to eat and when you have chicken, you're eating a dinosaur.

    (May or may not have been) Posted from my K6-2, Athlon XP, or Pentium I/II/III.
    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by FatPhil on Wednesday July 23 2014, @04:52PM

      by FatPhil (863) <reversethis-{if.fdsa} {ta} {tnelyos-cp}> on Wednesday July 23 2014, @04:52PM (#72839) Homepage
      +1 to this too. Purely so demand goes down, and then prices will follow.

      If it's 10 times as costly to the environment, and only costs me three times what I pay for pork (inner fillets 15e/kg and 5e/kg respectively), then surely I'm getting really good value for money for the destruction I cause - yay!
      Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people; the smallest discuss themselves