Skip showers for beef

I’ve been meaning to share the Skip Showers for Beef video which is very funny but has an important message. They’ve also got a website at:

A friend sent me a link to the Cowspiracy movie this morning and I’ve just been watching it. Most of it I am already aware of and indeed I think I’ve written about stuff like this on my blog before. But the approach taken by the film is very good. They criticise environmental organisations for largely ignoring one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions: livestock farming. They quoted a figure which I hadn’t heard before and I’m unsure of the accuracy of it. They claim that the livestock contribution to human-induced greenhouse gas emissions is 51% rather than the 18% stated in the 2006 FAO report: Livestock’s Long Shadow.

The 51% figure comes from Livestock and Climate Change. Their argument is that some things were overlooked in the original report including livestock respiration. There is a rebuttal for this in Livestock and greenhouse gas emissions: the importance of getting the numbers right. In the rebuttal it is argued that the CO2 emitted during respiration is part of the short-term carbon cycle where plants absorb the CO2 through photosynthesis and animals emit it so the two things cancel each other out. Therefore respiration by livestock should not be counted. Goodland and Anhang, authors of the original article, respond to this by saying that while the model of the carbon cycle makes sense in situations where respiration and photosynthesis remain roughly constant, that’s no longer the case. Respiration has increased exponentially with some 60 billion animals now raised for food each year alongside a corresponding decline in forests.

I’m not really sure which figure is accurate but one thing is certain, the world cannot sustain this level of meat production. We who live in wealthy countries who have plenty to eat and do not require meat to survive need to eat less of it.