The high cost of eating meat

A meat-based diet is largely responsible for the global warming problem because of the emission of greenhouse gases associated with meat production, according to a report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

The report reveals that livestock farming generates 18% of the earth's greenhouse gas emissions, compared with the 13% emitted by all the world's cars, trains, planes and boats combined. The sources of greenhouse gas emissions associated with meat consumption include:

  • clearing of forest for the production of animal feed
  • rearing and slaughter of livestock
  • transport, refrigeration and cooking of meat
  • nitrous oxide in the manure of animals
  • methane produced when animals, especially cows, belch

Unfortunately, when there seems to be a growing awareness of the importance of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, global meat and diary product consumption is also growing. It is estimated that the production of meat and milk will double from the turn of the millennium to the year 2050.

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