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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 khallow on Wednesday July 23 2014, @09:14PM

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday July 23 2014, @09:14PM (#72983) Journal

    Cattle has a higher environmental cost per calorie or kg of protein, but people are willing to pay a huge premium for the better quality cuts of meat. Googling around, I notice market prices [meat-prices.co.uk] from London, UK: consumers are willing to pay 3,700 pence per kg for the best cuts of beef (fillet steak), but only 1,029 pence per kg for the best cuts of pork (fillet of pork).

    And that's why we have beef cattle in the first place. Because people really like beef above and beyond its nutritional content.

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  • (Score: 2) by evilviper on Wednesday July 23 2014, @11:30PM

    by evilviper (1760) on Wednesday July 23 2014, @11:30PM (#73035) Homepage Journal

    Actually, with proper seasoning, you can make most other meats taste very close to steak. Once drown in A-1, covered in dry-rub, and dipped in Au Jus, you only barely taste the actual flavor of the meat.

    --
    Hydrogen cyanide is a delicious and necessary part of the human diet.
    • (Score: 1) by dpp on Thursday July 24 2014, @01:32AM

      by dpp (3579) on Thursday July 24 2014, @01:32AM (#73074)

      I actually find you can make non-meat-based foods taste like "animal x" once you drown it in similar flavorings.

    • (Score: 2) by khallow on Thursday July 24 2014, @11:24PM

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday July 24 2014, @11:24PM (#73523) Journal

      Actually, with proper seasoning, you can make most other meats taste very close to steak. Once drown in A-1, covered in dry-rub, and dipped in Au Jus, you only barely taste the actual flavor of the meat.

      Ignoring what is implied here by "proper seasoning", I'll just note that I can tell the difference, even with such dousing (and in the absence of texture clues like the difference between eating steak and chicken breast). For example, I can distinguish between beef and pork sausage or between ground beef and ground poultry. My tastebuds are rather insensitive too.