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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 d on Wednesday July 23 2014, @04:53PM

    by d (523) on Wednesday July 23 2014, @04:53PM (#72840)

    I hate it when people forget about the other side of the calculation. I mean, beef also eats carbon dioxide and produces oxygen, right?

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  • (Score: 5, Funny) by hoochiecoochieman on Wednesday July 23 2014, @05:07PM

    by hoochiecoochieman (4158) on Wednesday July 23 2014, @05:07PM (#72845)

    Yeah, cows breathe methane and fart the purest mountain air out of their asses.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 23 2014, @07:53PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 23 2014, @07:53PM (#72945)

    I hate it when I just am not sure if a post is satire or actual idiocy.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 23 2014, @10:08PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 23 2014, @10:08PM (#72998)

    Cattle eat complex carbon chains. Their metabolism converts at least some of that to methane and other carbon-rich gases.

    Cattle breathe the atmosphere, consuming O2 and producing CO2.

    I hope this clears up some of your confusion.