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08/16/2012

The Hidden Costs of Hamburgers update: Is it even worse than they said?  »

Can’t see the video? Watch it on Vegansaurus.com!

Hello! Remember the above video we posted last week (which is now full of commercials)? Well it may not be telling the whole story. An anonymous source has alerted me to these points: 

The following comments were sent to the producers—who’ve apparently seen fit to take no action. 

The video says: “Livestock are a major contributor to greenhouse gas pollution. Right up there with cars, trains, and planes.” But the authors of that livestock-transport comparison have retracted it.

The video says: “Livestock use 30 percent of the earth’s entire land area.” But the true figure is 45 percent, according to the International Livestock Research Institute.  

The video says: “Methane has 21 times more climate-changing power than CO2.” But the true figure is apparently higher—as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change uses a figure of 25 in a 100-year timeframe and 72 in a 20-year timeframe, while others use figures even higher than 72. 

The video says: “Grass-fed beef does less damage to the environment.”  But the lead author and a co-author of Livestock’s Long Shadow, a key source for the video, specify that grass-fed beef does more damage than corn-fed beef—as grass-fed cows emit up to 400% more methane, according to Gidon Eshel, another source for the video. 

In fact, after the FAO tried for years to correct the misperception that Livestock’s Long Shadow prescribed less factory farming (when it actually prescribed more), it announced last month that it will lead a new partnership with the meat industry, to be chaired by Frank Mitloehner, perhaps best known for his criticism of Livestock’s Long Shadow

Yet Livestock’s Long Shadow was written by livestock specialists employed by just one of 19 UN specialized agencies. 

Conversely, environmental specialists employed by two other UN specialized agencies, the World Bank and IFC, have authored analysis that better supports the video’s general direction. Not even all of the FAO supports Livestock’s Long Shadow, apparently, as the FAO invited those environmental specialists to deliver presentations at their headquarters in Rome and later in Berlin. Those presentations are on the Chomping Climate Change website along with links to numerous citations of those environmental specialists’ analysis.   

The New York Times recently published an assessment of the FAO’s new partnership.

Sometimes it seems impossible to get the figures right with the environmental damage of meat. At this point I’m generally just like, “I don’t know which figure is right but they’re all super-terrible enough.” But when you have something like that methane figure, jeez louise! That’s crazy! People are happily chomping down on their “happy beef” all piously while those “happy cows” are farting the planet to hell. Sorry, bros, factory-farmed or free-range, beef spells disaster for the environment. 

08/06/2012

The Hidden Costs of Hamburgers. There’s no scary bloody animal pics, just animated infographics. Normally I don’t have the stamina to watch something this long but this was easy! It’s just great and digestible and even cute for the subject matter. 

Pass it around!

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