A Looming Threat To Livestock

Of the looming threats to your livelihood—fake meat, government regulations, disastrous weather and volatile markets—none might be more destructive than the growing perception “cows are killing the planet.”

Since the start of 2019 three events have helped promote the falsehood your operation shoulders a large share of the blame for climate change.

The EAT-Lancet Commission report said a diet that includes more plant-based foods and fewer animal source foods is healthy, sustainable and good for both people and planet.

The Green New Deal was proposed in the U.S. Congress to address critical economic, social and environmental issues. Eliminating methane-producing cows is a key component.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that starting in the 2019/20 school year, all New York public schools will offer “Meatless Mondays” in their breakfast and lunch meals to “improve New Yorkers’ health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

The mayor says the “Meatless Mondays” program will offer all-vegetarian breakfast and lunch menus every Monday in an effort to “keep our lunch and planet green for generations to come.” The mayor’s plan is supported by New York City Council Member Justin Brannan who says, “We are not taking climate change seriously unless we are talking about the astounding role animal agriculture and meat production plays in greenhouse gas emissions.”

Except, it just ain’t so. We’ve devoted a significant amount of ink and cyberspace in recent months to the concept of beef sustainability and refuting ideas livestock production is an environmental catastrophe. It’s important every industry stakeholder become informed and committed to opposing anti-cow propaganda.

Much of the information needed to combat fallacies about the environmental footprint of livestock can be found in the work of Frank Mitloehner, professor and air quality extension specialist in the department of animal science at the University of California,

Davis (Page 32). He’s actively showing beef critics how their data is flawed. For instance, research suggests if Meatless Monday were adopted by Americans, we’d see a GHG reduction of just 0.5%.

Regarding the Eat-Lancet report, Mitloehner calls it a “downright danger” in that it “leads the public to believe that food choices will drastically affect the climate and the environment overall. It surely has some effect, but nothing close to the impact of burning of fossil fuels. The science behind the environmental claims in the EAT report is sketchy at best.”

Refuting claims about beef, such as those by Mayor de Blasio and EAT-Lancet, will require continued support for science-based research and broad dissemination of results.