1. Beef ban can mitigate climate change: US researchers

Beef ban can mitigate climate change: US researchers

Banning cow slaughter has become a major political and social issue in India but a study published by US researchers suggests this may indeed help mitigate global warming.

By: | Bengaluru | Published: May 25, 2017 11:02 AM
The researchers note that more than a third of American consumers are currently purchasing meat analogs — plant-based products that resemble animal foods in taste and texture, a trend suggesting that animal-sourced meat is no longer a necessity.(Reuters)

Banning cow slaughter has become a major political and social issue in India but a study published by US researchers suggests this may indeed help mitigate global warming. A team of researchers from four American universities report that “eating beans instead of beef would sharply reduce greenhouse gasses (GHG)” responsible for climate change.

The team, headed by Helen Harwatt of California’s Loma Linda University (LLU) concluded that “if Americans would eat beans instead of beef, the US would immediately realise approximately 50 to 75 per cent of its GHG reduction targets for the year 2020” without imposing any new standards on automobiles or manufacturing.

Shifting dietary patterns to achieve the required GHG reductions has long been advocated by researchers. But so far food consumption has not been anchored in climate change policy to the same extent as energy production and transportation. In a 10-page paper published in the journal Climatic Change, the researchers said they performed a relatively simple analysis to calculate the difference in GHGs resulting from the replacement of beef with beans in terms of both calories and protein.

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“Our results demonstrate that substituting beans for beef could achieve approximately 46 to 74 per cent of the reductions needed to meet the 2020 GHG target for the US. In turn, this shift would free up 42 per cent of US cropland,” the report said.

It said that while not currently recognised as a climate policy option, “the beans for beef scenario offers significant climate change mitigation and other environmental benefits, illustrating the high potential of animal to plant food shift”.

The researchers explained that beef cattle are the most GHG-intensive food to produce and that the production of legumes (beans, peas et al) results in 1/40th the amount of GHGs as beef.

The researchers note that more than a third of American consumers are currently purchasing meat analogs — plant-based products that resemble animal foods in taste and texture, a trend suggesting that animal-sourced meat is no longer a necessity.

“Our findings demonstrate that substituting plant-sourced foods for animal-sourced foods can play an important role in climate change mitigation,” the researchers conclude.

“While substituting beans for beef does not entirely satisfy the US GHG reduction targets, it could be combined with mitigation efforts for other major emitters such as power generation or transportation,” the researchers said.

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    Abraham Joseph
    Jul 22, 2017 at 10:42 am
    First of all, what Dr.Whitehead said about modern research based conclusions is relevant " experiments are methods of cooking evidence for the sake of exemplifying the theory in hand'! Secondly, what would be the volume of GHG savings if the other two major meat source, Chicken' and mutton also are discouraged, and slowly banned? Thirdly, much recent research showed that plants also have equal feel of pain anguish when face death torture. We all know, vegetarians go chiefly by the feeling, that it doesn't cause pain and blood flow as in non-vegetarianism! If the research about the above-referred feeling of pain by plants is true, the entire outlook of man about his food needs to be rethought! The link about plants feeling pain:: s: newscientist /article/mg22429980-400-root-intelligence-plants-can-think-feel-and-learn/?utm_campaign Echobox utm_medium Social utm_source
    Reply
    1. B
      Babita
      Jun 4, 2017 at 4:43 pm
      Most horrible thing in the world to eat beef, it's like we are eating out our own meat.It's like cutting the branch of tree on which we are seating.Making loss to w world.There r so many other options to satisfy our tounge.
      Reply
      1. Y
        Youth
        Jun 2, 2017 at 5:14 pm
        No single comment from non vegetarian people or better say non Hindus people. Their comment is important on this reasearch becuase 1400 years ago, there was no research done for GHG, animal protection.
        Reply
        1. Aditi Lahiri
          May 28, 2017 at 3:30 pm
          This a scientifically and ethically sound write-up. Congratulations for presenting this balanced story based on science. Rgds
          Reply
          1. S
            Shiv Kumar Khemka
            May 27, 2017 at 2:27 am
            Replacing beans for beef may help in greenhouse gas reduction, but the claim that it will meet 50 to 75 of targeted reduction by 2020 immediately in USA is unbelievable and exaggerated.
            Reply
            1. Pinaki Bhattacharya
              May 25, 2017 at 3:32 pm
              Misleading article. American per-capita and absolute consumption of beef is several times larger than in India. So the effect of reducing meat consumption in the US is substantially more than what would be achieved in India. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, the link between climate change and cows is the greenhouse gas emissions from the animals (literally, s). If the animal is killed in the end for meat, or just dies, does not change the greenhouse gas emitted. So if one wants to reduce the effect of cows on climate change, not eating them will change nothing as long as they exist in large numbers.
              Reply
              1. Adarsh singh
                May 25, 2017 at 9:12 pm
                really..havent u heard of animal farming?? most rared for meat industry are abused animals which are forced to be pregnant..if this excess breeding is controlled all animals will come at sustainable manner..and do u know 1/3 of earth's land is wasted for feeding farm animals..so it is a reality that due to animals rearing fr meat ghs increases and impact is more than vehicles's contribution in pollution combined..only beef is equivalent to all ghg pollution by vehicles..let alone other farming such as polutry etc..and may be per capita consumption is low but india is 4.5 times us population with half the area ..so effectively even if we are consuming 10 times less our atmosphere will be as much polluted as us..but the worry is that veganism/vegetarianism is increasing in usa whereas in india it is becoming fashion and sometimes kil animals is promoted as "right" and "secularism"
                Reply
                1. A
                  Anand Iyer
                  May 26, 2017 at 3:46 pm
                  Very nice points, Adarsh. Thank you.
                  1. A
                    Abhijit
                    May 27, 2017 at 9:37 am
                    Superb reply! Can we please have some actual figures from these research and authentic links? This will support your argument and make others understand the w thing as well. Also, I can use the resource in support of this argument.
                    1. Sanket Sunand Dash
                      May 27, 2017 at 11:31 am
                      "most rared for meat industry are abused animals which are forced to be pregnant..if this excess breeding is controlled all animals will come at sustainable manner" Any proof that this happens in India. Old animals whose existence is a burden to the earth are usually slaughtered for food. This reduces GHG emissions. On the other hand, meat farming is a big thing in the US.
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                      Anand Iyer
                      May 26, 2017 at 3:39 pm
                      Misleading comment. Cows that are used as farm animals can graze on pastures. But, those who are reared for meat are fed foodgrains meant for humans. They are fed with hormonal injections to swell their muscles are artificially increase their weight. You have spend gallons and gallons of water to clean the slaughterhouses if you kill. On the other hand if the animal naturally dies, the scavengers will consume the meat, naturally cleaning the carcass. So much of energy is spent in transporting the cows first to the slaughterhouses and then the meat of the slaughtered animal to the meat shops. Indian cow meat is also most sought after in the foreign countries. All this adds to the carbon footprint. When we comment on something let's look at it objectively and not from a political or a personal perspective.
                      Reply
                      1. D
                        Dipak Cha
                        May 26, 2017 at 9:22 pm
                        food grains?? we feed our cows oil cakes, bran powder, grass(mixed), hay, Napier gr and stuff like that not food grains :/ and alternatives like azolla and kelp are also available and hormonal treatments are not always used there are cattle varieties specifically bred for increased meat production plus feeding garlic can reduce methane production considerably if u want to reduce methane so bad, ban rice and wheat too
                        1. A
                          Anand Kumar
                          May 30, 2017 at 8:26 pm
                          Its time we should completely stop beef export to
                        2. A
                          Anand Iyer
                          May 26, 2017 at 3:45 pm
                          There are other benefits in keeping these poor animals alive. Their dung is the best fertilizer to the soil and maintains green cover. Even a fool knows that a green cover on the surface of the earth results in a cooler earth. A barren desert can be converted to a fertile land if a large goshala is maintained in that land for few years. We have lost our culture and tradition. For some transient pleasures we are endangering our own planet. Indians were criticized by the West as Nature worshipers and primitive. Which is better .. worshiping nature and thus caring for it or kill the very nature that sustains you, nourishes you.
                          Reply
                          1. Sanket Sunand Dash
                            May 27, 2017 at 11:33 am
                            Please buy them, if the farmer is wil to sell, and keep them alive. Why are you forcing the farmers to let go of a source of income? Haven't such policies led to a subs ution of buffaloes for cows?
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                            Vanditaa
                            Jun 26, 2017 at 4:47 pm
                            the amount of water used to manufacture beef is manifold times the amount of water required to produce plant-based products. So beef ban not only impacts global warming but also water scarcity.
                            Reply
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