back to article Amount of meat we eat will barely affect future climate change

For the last few days, the mainstream British media have been assuring us that rich westerners must seriously cut down the amount of meat we eat - and the rest of the world must keep to its current meat-light diet - in order to stave off planetary apocalypse. But what are the facts? The reports are all based on this paper in …

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  1. Gordon 10 Silver badge
    Meh

    Shame Lewis felt the need

    To include his last paragraph. On the surface at least his arguement seem to make sense for once.

    1. James Micallef Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Shame Lewis felt the need

      I agree that generally the rebuttal of the arguments in the paper make sense, plus I love my beef, bacon etc so not about to give it up. I just have an issue with this phrase, though: "compelling most people in the world to remain on their present not-very-nutritious diets", which is jumping from arguments of meat-eating vs non meat-eating to nutritious vs non-nutritious diets.

      People in third world-countries have non-nutritious diets because they don't have enough food. It's perfectly possible for them to have nutritious diets even with minimal meat intake, and increasing farming productivity + reducing meat consumption is most definitely not compelling anyone to a non-nutritious diet.

  2. T.a.f.T.
    Thumb Up

    Balanced View

    And I like the key message here, read the numbers not the hype!

    It is far too easy to divert people away from the key impactors (such as coal which is suggested here) into something relatively pointless such as eating less meat.

  3. Captain Underpants
    Thumb Down

    Hmm.

    "We conclude that future improvements in agricultural efficiency, especially in the livestock sector, could make a decisive contribution to tackling climate change, but this would be maximised if the global trend towards more meat intensive diets can be reversed."

    Given that there's a good amount of research showing that high-meat-intake diets have negative implications (increased probability of bowel cancer, etc) for people generally, I think that Lewis' dismissal of this research is a bit silly (but not particularly unexpected).

    It's also worth noting the bit that he seems to have ignored:

    "We find that there is only room for dedicated bio-energy crops if there is a marked increase in the efficiency of food production (sustained annual yield growth of 1%, shifts towards more efficient animals like pigs and poultry, and increased recycling of wastes and residues)."

    That seems compatible with the general idea that changing our eating habits particularly away from beef.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      I came up with an even more efficient system.

      Instead of growing plants and feeding them to cows who turn 99% of it into cow shit and 1% into meat - turn them into Hob-Nobs instead and eat those.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Its my understanding that its 90/10 rather than 99/1.

        It takes about 10 pounds of grain to produce one pound of beef.

        1. Denarius Silver badge
          Unhappy

          grain 2 beef bad, grass to beef good

          agreed, but feeding cattle real cattle food, ie grass, turns waste biomass into food. conclusion; total food resources increase. Much grazing land is marginal for food cropping, but grows grasses adequately to support ruminants. Also feeding grains to cattle produces unhealthy to eat meat while grass fed meat is relatively safe and tasty. I for one am fed up with the rennaisance of the medieval flagellants of the greenie and PC brigade, so Lewis is sport on.

          1. daveeff
            FAIL

            Re: grain 2 beef bad, grass to beef good

            Grass to mutton better? I'm still waiting to see some campaigning veggies trying to get their combine harvester up a Welsh mountain.

            There are figures on grain / meat ratios here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feed_conversion_ratio (wikipedia MUST be true) but don't deal with land usage.

  4. Gareth Gouldstone
    Stop

    Only one number that really matters

    Seven billion is too many

    1. Chris Miller

      Re: Only one number that really matters

      I trust you'll do the decent thing, then, Gareth? You may borrow my pearl-handled revolver, if you like.

      1. Gareth Gouldstone
        Happy

        Re: Only one number that really matters

        I haven't reproduced and yes, I shall remove myself from the planet before I become a drain on care budgets. In the meantime, any attempt to fiddle around the edges just ignores the fact we are overpopulated.

        What have you done?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Only one number that really matters

          @Gareth - So what you're saying - apart from the try-to-shock meme of "there's too many humans we need to die out a bit." - is that you're on board with the getting rid of humans, in that you're not going to breed, but you're not on board with it making any difference, if you were, you'd be killing yourself.

          Your argument is flawed and immoral.

          1. Gerhard den Hollander

            Re: Only one number that really matters

            Birth control ?

            Make contraceptives available, easily and cheap to developing countries ?

            Convince the religious leaders that contraception is good , and urge their local representatives to spread that message to their congregations ?

            Have governments all over the world use incentives to keep the number of kids per family low ?

            You can try to control the number of people on this planet without immediately having to go to the extremes of mass-extermination.

            1. wowfood

              Re: Only one number that really matters

              @Gerhard

              I'm actually all for the government incentives. There are a lot of people out there who just see children as a way to get extra money from the government. I'm not saying all people, but rather than having as many children as they can afford to care of, there are families who have as many kids as possible because it means handouts.

              Personally I'd be for government rulings that lower the amount of benefits almost across the board. Rather than giving parents money to care for children, go back to a voucher system so they can't spend the money on booze and cigs.

              I honestly think the same could be applied to most forms of welfare, if they have kids because they want kids then vouchers should be enough to get them clothed, food etc. If they want kids because it means more money for them to spend on booze then they wouldn't get it. It'd cut down on kids among certain groups at least, and it might cut back on the kids who grow up to be degenerates because they learnt from their parents.

              I think this is one of the only things we could implament which might actually work.

              1. BrownishMonstr
                Thumb Up

                Re: Only one number that really matters

                "It'd cut down on kids among certain groups at least, and it might cut back on the kids who grow up to be degenerates because they learnt from their parents."

                For that, I love you as my own brother. I agree, a lot of people do have kids for the benefits, a bit pointless really and it truly shows what a kind parent they are. But who knows what goes on through their minds. Considering how much The Gov wanna cut back, I don't see why they don't implement it.

              2. John Smith 19 Gold badge

                Re: Only one number that really matters

                "I'm actually all for the government incentives. There are a lot of people out there who just see children as a way to get extra money from the government. "

                With the proviso of course that this is in *developed* countries with govt run *welfare* systems (and typically *falling* overall birth rates).

                While in the *developing* world you'll die without someone to look after you if your old age (which won't be what Westerners consider "old").

            2. Allan George Dyer Silver badge

              Re: Only one number that really matters

              Gerhard den Hollander, I upvoted you, but feel I should point out that some "government incentives", e.g. a one-child policy with forced termination as currently used in some places, is approaching the extreme of mass-extermination.

              Also, reducing population needs careful long-term planning, note the panic about population decline and elderly healthcare.

          2. Captain Underpants
            Thumb Down

            Re: Only one number that really matters

            @AC 12:20

            No, I think what Gareth is on board with is understanding the concept of limited resources and not contributing to potential overpopulation, on a purely personal basis.

            How you get from there to "immoral" is beyond me, given that you've mentioned no contextual framework for such a judgement to be made.

            Don't let that stop you from being a total bellend, though. I mean, it hasn't thus far, right?

          3. h4rm0ny

            Re: Only one number that really matters

            "Your argument is flawed and immoral."

            What's flawed or immoral about saying there's a finite number of people the planet can support and that if the human species is to not negatively impact itself, it must keep below that number? That's certain, all that's left is arguing over what that number is. Now Gareth says 7bn and I'm inclined to say that is already too high, but you haven't argued why his number is right or wrong, you've declared that the entire argument is flawed, which it is not.

            As to means of population reduction - we have one ethical and provenly effective method available right now: better education and work equality for women.

            Oh, and this article is pretty poor. Who cares about the CO2 from cows, etc.? The environmental reasons for eating less meat and moving to a more vegetarian or vegan diet, is that it causes less major and negative shifts in the environment such as massive deforestation in South America to grow cattle feed for the US. Who I think we all agree could on average cut back on the meat at least a little bit.

            1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
              FAIL

              Re: Re: Only one number that really matters

              Oh h4rm0ny, if only you had studied science, economics or just anything that required you to develop a smidgen of analytical ability!

              ".....What's flawed or immoral about saying there's a finite number of people the planet can support ...." Nothing immoral, but plenty flawed. If you took every living person on the planet you could squeeze them all onto the Isle of Wight with space to spare. You supply absolutely no reasoning as to why we are "over-populating" the planet beyond your own socio-politically-induced guilt.

              "....The environmental reasons for eating less meat and moving to a more vegetarian or vegan diet, is that it causes less major and negative shifts in the environment such as massive deforestation in South America to grow cattle feed for the US...." Great, so you stop the evil burger industry and instead replace it with the evil corn/wheat/vegetables industry. Countries in the 3rd and 2nd World economic arenas will concentrate on generating foreign revenue by growing arable crops for export. An example of this is how Egyptian farmers concentrates on growing potatoes for export to Europe. In short, there will still be chopping down of the Amazon rainforest, but instead they locals will be planting it with whatever veggie or arable crop is in demand in the US, Europe, etc. If you ask us to replace meat with veggies then we still need to source the veggies.

              1. h4rm0ny

                Re: h h4rmony

                "You supply absolutely no reasoning as to why we are "over-populating" the planet beyond your own socio-politically-induced guilt."

                You clearly didn't understand my point or have chosen to ignore it. The attack on the argument wasn't that the number of people (7bn) was too much, they said the argument was fundamentally flawed and immoral. Now unless you think there's no point at which there could be too many of us and we ought to start cutting back, then you're not addressing what I've said.

                "Great, so you stop the evil burger industry and instead replace it with the evil corn/wheat/vegetables industry"

                Basically yes. It takes a lot less ground to support someone by direct food growing than via cow. Or do you take issue with that.

                1. Chet Mannly

                  Re: h h4rmony

                  "fundamentally flawed and immoral. Now unless you think there's no point at which there could be too many of us and we ought to start cutting back"

                  I think you'll find "cutting back" is the fundamentally immoral part. Most people I know think that killing humans because you've decided there's too many for your liking, or forcing abortions/population controls (like China does now) is pretty immoral...

                  "It takes a lot less ground to support someone by direct food growing than via cow. Or do you take issue with that."

                  How about in Australia where we got millions of acres of ground to fill with cows that arable crops like corn can't grow on, and humans don't want to live on? - no problem with space here.

                  You are just assuming this is a zero sum game, where crops are necessarily replaced by cows - that isn't the case at all.

                  Its certainly no argument to eliminate meat, it just highlights your closed mind

                  1. h4rm0ny

                    Re: h h4rmony

                    "I think you'll find "cutting back" is the fundamentally immoral part. Most people I know think that killing humans because you've decided there's too many for your liking, or forcing abortions/population controls (like China does now) is pretty immoral..."

                    Then may I suggest you read all of what I wrote rather than just selecting bits that will annoy you. I wrote that we have a very effective and ethical means of reducing the population which is greater education and work equality for women. It's provenly effective and has greater long-term impact than oppressive governments can manage with one-child policies (which also lead to gender imbalances in some cultures).

                    "How about in Australia where we got millions of acres of ground to fill with cows that arable crops like corn can't grow on, and humans don't want to live on? - no problem with space here"

                    And how about other areas where we don't? I see you like to play the "scary numbers" game. You should join Friends of the Earth, they like waving the word millions about without context as well in an attempt to bolster their argument. I have no idea where you got your figure. "Millions" is a pretty astonishingly large variation of error, btw. You could mean a 2m, you could mean 5m, which would mean you were casually hand-waving whole multiples of deviation. It suggests you don't actually know and are just (Greenpeace style) plucking numbers you think sound good. They don't. For a start, do you actually know how much an acre is? It's quite small actually. It's 0.004km^2. Did you know from 2000 to 2005, the mean average amount of rain forest destroyed was 5.5million acres per year? It's not massive as a proportion but it is ongoing. How quickly is Australia forming new land? Now some of it is due to biofuels (but the poster earlier is incorrect that it is most - the big majority is actually cattle feed, and I'm citing the Centre for International Foresty Research, not just stating something I think like the earlier poster). It is undeniable that meat consumption is leading to massive negative environmental change.

                    Also, quite frankly, I think I need to see some actual figures for your comments about using non-suitable land for pasture. It shows an ignorance of modern beef production. For the most part, modern farmers far prefer to keep cattle in a small and controlled site and feed them intensively on imported feed (e.g. soy from South American rainforests) than have them roaming up and down hillsides burning up all that lovely energy roaming around being cows, rather than in a few small fields turning it straight into meat. Plus the rounding them all up, etc. You are aware that most land that could be used for pasture but would be difficult for crops is due to the terrain being uneven or fragmented? Makes herding them around a pain. In short, whether there's land available or not, farmers prefer to just use cattled feed as evidenced by the US and elsewhere. In short, I think you don't know what you're talking about.

                    This meme of using land for pasture that is unsuitable for any food crops is becoming some sort of Gospel Truth. I would like to see some actual figures. How much land? Why is it unsuitable and is it unsuitable for all crops or just not a massive field that can be ploughed by machine for cereal crops? Don't just repeat something you read from another poster and liked, back it up.

                2. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                  Facepalm

                  Re: h h4rmony

                  ".....You clearly didn't understand ...." Oh, I understand EXACTLY where you and the other greenies are coming from.

                  ".....they said the argument was fundamentally flawed and immoral....." Which I addressed by saying it wasn't immoral, just stupid.

                  ".....It takes a lot less ground to support someone by direct food growing than via cow....." Which ignores the fact I can keep cows or other herd animals on ground that is unsuitable for crop growing.

                  "....Now unless you think there's no point at which there could be too many of us and we ought to start cutting back...." D'uh! What I am saying is that point has not been reached and will not be reached (even at increasing levels of consumption) for decades yet. However, it is likeloy that long before that one of the old Four Horsemen will strike again. That's assuming you know about the Four Horseman...? Oh, I suppose I'd better explain that too. In monosyllables.

                  The original Four Horsemen (Pestilence, War, Famine, and Death) came out of an interpretation of the New Testament referring to the Apocalypse. Ignoring that fairytale background, historians and economists have applied the idea to population control along the lines that should a population grow too large, Nature will apply a balancing force. In previous history we've had man's population balanced out by any of the four and often by more than one at once. Should we eventually reach the point where our scientific development fails to outstrip the demand for resources (in this case, arable land), we'll either starve, die due to disease taking advantage of our poor diet, die younger due to our poor diet, or die in wars fighting over the resources. Essentially, we'll end up back to a practical population level eventually.

                  In your case, we have a fifth Horseman called Fashion. This covers people that can't follow science and instead base all their life planning around whatever some fashionable pundit of the day tells them is "a good idea". Thankfully, the extreme victims of Fashion usually exclude themselves from society and end up in secluded cult enviornments (monasteries, hippie communes, etc) where they stop being a pain for the rest of us.

            2. Chet Mannly

              Re: Only one number that really matters

              "less major and negative shifts in the environment such as massive deforestation in South America to grow cattle feed for the US"

              80% of recent South American deforestation has been to produce corn et al for bio fuels, not meat. Quit this biofuel nonsense and we'll have more forests, and millions more people will be able to afford eat properly.

              A much bigger effect than trying to make the human race into vegans (which our bodies have not evolved to do)

        2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: "What have you done?"

          Why should I do anything?

          If governments around the world switched electricity generation away from fossil fuels and towards nuclear, and instigate a escalating tax on fossil fuels so that consumers (and industry) switch fixed infrastructure over to electrical power wherever possible on the normal maintainance/replacement cycle then we could reduce our CO2 footprint by a factor of several over the next couple of decades without really noticing the cost. No-one is even bothering to model such a reduction, apparently believing it to be impossible, but we already know how to do it.

          Likewise, if governments around the world switched social policies away from Bronze Age misogyny then we could watch world population stabilise as educated women all said "fuck this for a game of soldiers". Again, this is something we already know, but "we" doesn't appear to include politicians.

          But if governments do neither of these things, anything *I* do will merely punish me (and my quality of life) for giving a damn whilst the rest of the world goes to hell in a handcart. By advancing the idea that individuals can make a difference, *you* are part of the problem. Individuals need to know that the problem can only be solved at a governmental level, that we already know how to solve it, and that innumerate politicians are the only thing standing in the way.

          1. Denarius Silver badge
            Thumb Down

            Re: "What have you done?"

            ah Ken, what a call for dictatorship, of the learned I assume ? Not with their track record. If you include the tribal old men and women in the pollies pejoritive, who maintain the historical oppression of people, then agreed. If you mean those futile talking places for the power brokers, nope. In the remains of west it is the individuals who vote pollies in. It is up to individuals to vote intelligently, altho I confess a severe lack of wise candidates in my own political ruins. as for the rest of the world, the sooner they are left to discover their stone age stupidity does not work by seeing systems that do, the better. Self interest works well when a society see mutual benefits. As for population stabilisation, only one change has been proven to work non-coercively; increase in standard of living.

        3. Philip Lewis
          Go

          Re: Only one number that really matters

          http://www.vhemt.org/

      2. hplasm Silver badge
        Happy

        Re:Re: Only one number that really matters

        You want him to shoot you- with your own gun? That's rather sporting of you!

    2. JeffyPooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Only one number that really matters

      The following might be considered counterintuitive, so I'll type slowly.

      High child mortality leads to overpopulation. Read it again.

      Most humans instinctively want to reproduce themselves. They want high odds of success in this mission. 50/50 isn't good enough. 95% is probably about right. 100% is not required.

      If the child mortality is low and you want two kids, then you have two kids. This will almost certainly lead to several grandchildren and one would eventually die happy.

      If the child mortality is high and you want two kids, then you might need eight babies to provide 95% odds of having two survive. But under these circumstances the average could be four that survive. In other words, to guaranty two the average would overshoot and result in overpopulation.

      As soon as the child mortality problem is fixed, population growth tapers off.

      I'm convinced that this is the root cause. It may then be layered over with cultural and religious reinforcements. But if you fix child mortality then the human overpopulation problem will fix itself in a generation or two.

  5. steve harris
    FAIL

    references, references, references ...

    Have you noticed that Lewis constantly feels the need to refer to his own comments rather than the original research that triggered the comments in the first place. So it's quite difficult to see if his assertions about any of these facts are founded in anything but his own opinion: climate debate on the reg has turned into an echo chamber in which only one voice can be heard...

    1. Hieronymus Howerd

      Re: references, references, references ...

      Yes, and to even call it a "debate" flatters it; it's more like reading a Clarkson column. I'm not entirely sure what the IT angle is, either.

      Nice bass work on Rime of the Ancient Mariner, by the way.

      1. min

        Re: references, references, references ...

        he can't have been the guy..not enough West Ham in the post!

        i'd rather read Lewis than some of the rubbish i read in the papers/hear in the other media. at least using his antagonistic stance i can consider my own position rather than have it rammed down my throat by some even sillier pro-vegetarian 'writer' who has less comprehension of modelling than a toad has of space travel.

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: references, references, references ...

          "less comprehension of modelling than a toad has of space travel."

          The Toadassians want a croak with you.

    2. JeffyPooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: references, references, references ...

      Then click twice.

      It's perfectly reasonable to provide outside references via previous columns on the same subject. It provides the arguable benefit of additional context at the cost of you having to follow one more link if you wish to reach the original external source.

      The limited space of a column (as compares to a 47-page paper) essentially forces this sort of approach. It's not practical to incorporate all the previous context into each new column. If you're actually interested enough to try to read the original source, then you can take a few seconds to review the context of the previous column(s) where those links may eventually be provided. Or use Google.

      Disclaimer: this doesn't imply I agree with everything he writes (the Clarkson comparison is apt), but the role of a skeptic is absolutely critical in all important debates. Those that denigrate the "climate skeptics" have themselves become unthinking, unscientific, essentially-religious, dangerous zealots. Even if they're actually right.

    3. Chet Mannly

      Re: references, references, references ...

      "Lewis constantly feels the need to refer to his own comments rather than the original research"

      You mean Lewis is being a journalist - how dare he, its only what he's paid for!!!

      If you only want the words of the original researcher then just read their paper/press release and quit whinging...

      1. Don Jefe
        Meh

        Re: references, references, references ...

        My preference would be that links/referral materials be directly from the paper/press release. Anything that doesn't involve mine/bomb disposal is far beyond the purveyance of Don Page. In an ideal world journalists would only report the facts. Not their own opinions. When a journalist refers to their own previous opinion pieces as fact it mucks up the whole trust basis between science and journalism. Scientists hate that... Readers should too...

        Current Gen journalists get by quoting their own 'facts' by linking to a very expensive journal and/or they know that very few of the 'Internet People' will actually read anything they link to. If you're really interested you'll pay: Many journalists count on the fact you won't pony up the funds. They aren't paying for access to the journals either. Each time an El Reg visitor clicks on a link is what pays for their journal subscriptions. I'm fine with that. I just wish they read it those articles scientifically and leave the pontificating at home. El Reg used to be that way. Not anymore I guess.

  6. TRT Silver badge
    Angel

    If God had wanted us all to be vegetarians...

    he wouldn't have made meat so tasty.

    1. Hieronymus Howerd

      Re: If God had wanted us all to be vegetarians...

      Funny thing is, that's literally true. Apart from the God bit, obviously.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: If God had wanted us all to be vegetarians...

      If the Juju had meant us not to eat people/He wouldn't have made us of meat!

      (Flanders and Swann - The Reluctant Cannibal. Ah, the days of my misspent youth...)

      1. TRT Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: If God had wanted us all to be vegetarians...

        Argh! Yes! I'd forgotten that one! Thank you.

    4. John H Woods

      Re: If God had wanted us all to be vegetarians...

      ... he wouldn't have made animals out of meat (by Jo Brand, IS2R)

    5. Chet Mannly

      Re: If God had wanted us all to be vegetarians...

      Yup I'm a member of PETA too:

      P eople

      E ating

      T asty

      A nimals

      :-)

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    IT angle?

    1. hplasm Silver badge
      IT Angle

      Re:IT angle?

      2 degrees- see TFA.

  8. Pan.
    Meh

    Only partial picture

    While your article might be accurate regarding meat consumption and CO2 levels, one must understand this (CO2 reduction) is only one of the arguments vegans and vegetarians are shielding towards reduced meet consumption.

    One very significant argument is that our human bodies are simply not evolved into consuming the amount of meat products, included in the western mans diet nowdays. For thousands of years (actually until 100 or 200 years ago) the level of meat consumption was much less that the present one in the western world thus a reduction in meet consumption will also have a personal positive health effect.

    1. Bob. Hitchen

      Re: Only partial picture

      So why are people living longer? Oh and our ancestors used to eat it raw.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Only partial picture

        > So why are people living longer? Oh and our ancestors used to eat it raw.

        Are we living longer? IIRC early biblical OT writings suggest 70/80 years as the norm and an upper limit of 120. Can't remember the reference, sorry.

        Whatever you think of the rest of it, not much seems to have changed in that respect.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Only partial picture

        Why are people living longer? They are, but they are spending more of years incapacitated by illness.

    2. Battsman
      Childcatcher

      Re: Only partial picture

      "One very significant argument is that our human bodies are simply not evolved into consuming the amount of meat products, included in the western mans diet nowdays. For thousands of years (actually until 100 or 200 years ago) the level of meat consumption was much less that the present one in the western world thus a reduction in meet consumption will also have a personal positive health effect."

      I'm reminded of the picture of the 50 year old vegan who looks like a troll and the 50 year old chef who loves butter, eggs, meats, & cheeses and looks like quite the hot dish on her own. What is a "personal postiive health effect" for one, might not be for another. In truth if you really want to improve the health of the typical modern human dump the "fortified flour products," corn syrup derivatives, etc. that completely screw up a modern human's insulin levels.

      With regard to protein consumption specifically, I'll observe that the average height, size, etc. of the modern human is significantly larger than even just a few hundred years ago - it may be that protein consumption of a few hundred years ago wasn't as adequate to a positive health effect as one might assume on face value.

      1. Antony Smith
        Thumb Up

        Re: Only partial picture

        Re: 50 Year old vegan that looks like a troll, this one's not bad for 72 -

        http://www.lowdensitylifestyle.com/media/uploads/2010/01/600mimikirk-269x300.jpg

        Could be the genes she's got would keep her looking like that even is she'd eaten dog dirt for the past 20 years but who's to say the Vegan you're on about would look any different either.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Only partial picture

      "One very significant argument is that our human bodies are simply not evolved into consuming the amount of meat products, included in the western mans diet nowdays".

      While understandable given the amount of misinformation circulating, this is very likely the exact opposite of the truth. There is reason to believe that eating a lot of meat was one of the critical factors that contributed to our evolution as homo sapiens - meat provides much more energy than plants, as well as all the nutrients we need. (True: check it out if you doubt me). We seem to have evolved as hunters: healthy humans whose bodies have not atrophied due to "civilized" lifestyles can still run further without having to stop than virtually any other mammal. A suitably trained runner (such as a Tarahumara Indian) can comfortably jog 100 miles non-stop, whereas a horse, deer, or even wolf cannot.

      So our prehistoric ancestors probably lived for approaching 1 million years as hunter-gatherers, opportunistically eating whatever was available locally - from bison and mammoths to hares and mice, seafood, bugs, birds and their eggs, and whatever fruit and nuts they could find. Until very recently such tribes as the Inuit and Masai lived essentially on meat and fat - eked out, in the case of the Masai, by milk and blood.

      About 14,000 years ago farming was invented, and large numbers of people began to appear in settlements. The land could not begin to support so many hunter-gatherers, so they had to farm and live on bread and other cereals, vegetables, and whatever small amounts of meat they could afford. Over time, meat became almost an exclusive privilege of the rich and powerful - for example, in medieval times venison from the deer in England's royal forests could only be eaten by the king and his household. Incidentally, examination of human remains has shown that the palaeolithic hunter-gatherers, like modern ones, were taller, stronger, and healthier than the farmers who succeeded and replaced them.

      The epidemic of obesity that has overtaken the "civilized" world has coincided almost exactly with increased consumption of sugar, refined flour products, and processed foods and drinks; meanwhile per-capita consumption of plain unadulterated meat, fish, and dairy products has fallen.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Who are the "western mans" anyway?

      I've heard they eat a lot of meat in Texas. Also in Pakistan. But here in the UK even non-vegetarians don't eat very much meat: if they removed from their diet everything apart from the meat they would probably die of starvation. Most of people's calories come from wheat, potatoes, etc.

      It is clearly possible for some people (Eskimos, some Africans, ...) to live healthily on a diet consisting mostly of meat. It is also clearly possible for some people (lots of Indians, some English people, ...) to live healthily on a purely vegetarian diet. Are all diets possible for all people, or might different people have different dietary requirements? Not sure ...

      A vegetarian diet works well for me and my family, but:

      * We eat quorn and soya and quinoa and other stuff which would not be available to my ancestors.

      * We eat quite a lot of cheese which is, to some extent, I've been told, a by-product of meat production; I'm not sure what would happen to the agricultural economy if everyone switched from beef to cheese.

      1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

        Re: Who are the "western mans" anyway?

        " I'm not sure what would happen to the agricultural economy if everyone switched from beef to cheese."

        Double the gas output?

      2. Furbian
        Meh

        Re: Who are the "western mans" anyway?

        The vast majority of the poor, the majority of the populace being poor in the first place, in Pakistan can't afford meat anyway, it's much more expensive, relatively, than it is in the developed world. They're end up being vegetarians due not being able to afford not only meat, but are are also malnourished as they can't afford much food anyway.

        http://chartsbin.com/view/bhy

        Case in point, meat eaten (per person, per year), UK, 85Kg, India, 3Kg, Pakistan 13Kg, US, Australia 122Kg!

        1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Who are the "western mans" anyway?

          Crikey. Actual numbers and a quoted source.

          +1

    5. JeffyPooh Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Only partial picture

      Ideally, meat is a garnish. A 6-oz steak should be a very rare treat. Never, ever order a double burger.

      Limit yourself to just three or four strips of bacon per serving, not more than four or five times a week (plus the weekends of course). Oh, sorry, is this one not like the others?

  9. Elmer Phud

    Food?

    That meat production usually means using a lot more land and producing food for producing meat is usually forgotten about as the argument concerning cow farts rages.

    1. MJI Silver badge

      Re: Food?

      Quite often land unsuited to arable farming is very good for meat farming, also do we want pastures replaced with crops?

      As to CO2 - try planting more trees

      1. Spotthelemon

        Re: Food?

        current developments in meat production means pasture will become a thing of the past soon with part of that land being covered by giant factory sheds, the high- yield cattle they're producing can't be fed on grass they must have carefully controlled high-tech feed & be kept almost permanently indoors.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Food?

          "current developments in meat production means pasture will become a thing of the past soon with part of that land being covered by giant factory sheds, the high- yield cattle they're producing can't be fed on grass they must have carefully controlled high-tech feed & be kept almost permanently indoors".

          Apart from being cruel and barbaric, this practice confuses the dietary issue magnificently. Because meat from animals who have been kept indoors all their lives, for all the world like couch potatoes with no TV, and fed on corn and other starchy foods, is probably far less healthy than that from wild animals allowed to range freely and eat their natural foods such as grass.

  10. Bob. Hitchen

    Same s*** different day

    Here we go again yet another round of drip fed crap. Every other day some other subsidised idiot comes in with a story on how the sky is falling. Get a photo of the polar bear/penguin while you can they'll be gone before you can blink - yeah right. Just like the Himalayan glaciers! Oh and the sea level rise odd I can walk the same distance at low tide even 20 years after Gore's alarmist innundation video.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Same s*** different day

      You do realise there is some sort of shindig for watermelons coming up shortly - hence this sudden mad rush of 'scientific' papers to support it - don't you?

    2. Jim Birch
      WTF?

      Re: Same s*** different day

      Did Gore actually say that we'd be inundated after 20 years. I think not. You made that up.

      You can read the IPCC reports and see what they actually say if you can be bothered. If you don't want to be drip fed crap go to the authoritative sources.

      Climate change is slow. It's not cataclysmic, now, next year, next decade. More like a slow accumulation of some negative impacts - albeit with some positives. On time scale of a hundred years or two there will be significant negatives and they'll be wondering why we let it happen for a marginal short term benefit. If you don't care about the future of the world past your lifetime you don't have to worry much about climate change. And if you find small modifications of your own behaviour for the common good just too offensive to contemplate, well, that's you. What really beats me about you guys is that you need to believe these crazy factoids to feel ok.

  11. Turtle

    The really beautiful thing about it....

    The really beautiful thing about AGW is that it gives its supporters a pretext to interfere in every aspect of human life and society, bar none.

  12. Crisp Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Can I still eat bacon sandwiches?

    Although, there's every chance that I'd carry on eating bacon sandwiches even if it did destroy the planet.

    1. TRT Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Can I still eat bacon sandwiches?

      Well you've already destroyed it for one poor pig at least.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gareth is still right though

    Whatever the ins and outs of the original article - Gareth is absolutely right about current and projected population levels being a very real problem. Anyone who thinks it is not - with respect - is living in cloud cuckoo land. If you want to co-exist with increasing numbers of other people (and thus traffic, noise, pollution, scarce resources, disappearing wildlife, disappearing land space) don't vote for "population reduction" (by fair means not foul). Stick your head in the sand and enjoy the ride - it's down hill all the way.

    So - stand up and say it - "the world is over populated and it's going to get worse!"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Gareth is still right though

      Both you and Gareth are very wrong.

      There are vast tracts of land, even in the UK, where you can go and live and rarely see another soul. There are whole abandoned villages in Italy, Spain and France that you can purchase for a pittance. For a small upfront cost the Scottish government will subsidise you to become a smallholder.

      Life like that is not "efficient" and it couldn't support the sort of numbers the more populated areas of the planet have. However, there are still huge areas, capable of supporting hundreds of millions of people quite happily. Ironically, such a life consumes less "natural resources" than average.

      It's also quite hard work...

      If you think the planet's crowded, its because you have chosen to live somewhere that's crowded. There are many advantages to it. Humans tend toward it if they have a choice. The population drift from rural to urban areas is a very visible side effect of modernising countries.

      The planet is good for about 20 billion people by today's standards. I doubt we'll ever get above 10. Google Hans Rosling.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Gareth is still right though

        Not to forget the "population bomb" had us running out of resources some time in the late 70s, IIRC.

        We may need to stop the rate of increase and accept that not everyone can eat meat at every meal. We'll probably also need to stop being arrogant and using utterly inefficient methods of food production like organic. The chances are we'll be alright, though, without a population cull.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "There are vast tracts of land, even in the UK..."

        The UK has 58 million square acres, and 60-odd million people.

        Just figure I'll throw that one at ya.

        1. Chris Miller

          Re: "There are vast tracts of land, even in the UK..."

          The UK population isn't very evenly distributed - almost half of them live within 100 miles of London. So there are large tracts of north and west Scotland (and bits of England and Wales) that would count as relatively empty by most people's definition.

          BTW what are these square acres of which you speak? Is this some measure of 4-vol of which I've been previously unaware?

      3. JeffyPooh Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Gareth is still right though

        AC "...vast tracts of land..."

        Exactly right. The rural areas in my jurisdiction are depopulating. The metro is growing fast.

        It's going to be quite pleasant for the retired folks that want to get outta town for some peace and quiet.

        Hmmm... I predict that they'll eventually have self-contained residences, linked by cheap satcom, powered by who-knows-what (wind, solar?), extracting water from the air, that they'll helicopter into isolated, remote and beautiful locations with spectacular views (e.g. Namibian coast). Once a month, in exchange for your pension check, they'll chopper in groceries.

    2. Chet Mannly

      Re: Gareth is still right though

      ""the world is over populated and it's going to get worse!""

      Given we produce far more food than is necessary to feed every person on the planet (I've heard figures of double necessary production) I disagree that we are overpopulated now.

      Most starvation is due to wars preventing food from getting to those that need it (eg Sudan now), and bad government policy (eg farm ownership policies of Mugabe).

      Theoretically if the human population continues to grow then obviously we may reach that stage sometime in the future, but it aint now.

  14. Tim Parker

    Media coverage

    "For the last few days, the mainstream British media have been assuring us that rich westerners must seriously cut down the amount of meat we eat - and the rest of the world must keep to its current meat-light diet - in order to stave off planetary apocalypse. "

    Really ? I don't normally think of myself as reclusive but i've not seen anything about this. Has it been in the rags ? Ah well, back to sleep...

    1. Tim Parker

      Re: Media coverage

      What's with the downvote for a question ? Sheesh - if there's been coverage just point it out, I said i'd missed it not that it didn't happen.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Re: Media coverage

        "What's with the downvote for a question ?...." You DARED to question The Truth! At least, that's how the Greenies will see it.

  15. Steve Knox
    Boffin

    Numbers

    Ah, Lewis.

    One can always count on you to appeal to rationality and then be completely irrational. Your numerical analysis has one major flaw. Let's take a quick look, shall we?

    In other words the difference between the high-meat future and the low-meat one is just 12 parts per million. The OECD thinks that atmospheric CO2 is likely to climb from present levels of 394 ppm to 685ppm on that timescale, a rise of nearly 300 - 25 times the saving Mr Powell is offering. There is a notional aspiration to hold the level to 450 ppm, but this is widely acknowledged to be a lost cause and much modelling in recent times has sought to predict the consequences of a doubling in CO2 to say 780 ppm.

    If the goal, as you say, is to hold the level to 450ppm, then we have an acceptable rise of 56ppm. So the "magic number" is not 291ppm ("nearly 300") but 235ppm. 12 ppm is just over 5% of than number. Now that's not that great -- it's almost exactly 1% more than the 4%+ you get if you use 291ppm. This may seem like splitting hairs, but I do it to show that the way you adjust and round the numbers is consistently to marginalize the results. This directly relates to the significant flaw in your logic.

    To be fair, regardless of which side of the climate change debate a given commentator is on, they tend to make this same mistake. It also happens quite frequently in other fields.

    The mistake, of course, is to expect any single proposition to be "the answer" -- in this debate especially. No-one who's read the science believes that one single aspect of human society is responsible for the entirety of the carbon emissions we have generated. So to expect one single change to reverse all of it is equally absurd.

    No, we need to look at multiple solutions, carefully considering those which rise above a certain threshold -- something around 5%, I think...

    1. scatter

      Re: Numbers

      Also this reduction is achieved through a really quite modest cut in meat consumption:

      "To make a really significant difference, however, we will need to bring down the average global meat consumption from 16.6 per cent to 15 per cent of average daily calorie intake – about half that of the average western diet."

      But Lewis makes it sound like the evil commie scientists want everyone to go vegan.

  16. Peter Dawe
    Flame

    Bacon sandwiches yes, Cucumber no!

    Cucumbers have massive water use and very high carbon footprint, using heated greenhouses and cool-train logistics. In addition, the wastage rate is one of the highest in fresh food 9 especially in the kitchen).

    More importantly, the cucumber has virtually no nutritional value.

    Its the salad muchers that are wrecking the planet!!!

    1. TRT Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Bacon sandwiches yes, Cucumber no!

      Quite so! And the crust wastage is unforgivable.

  17. John A Blackley

    Why not conflate?

    It has been suggested that the _real_ climate problem is too many people on the planet.

    It has also been suggested that eating too much red meat vastly increases one's risk of cancer.

    So why not propose that everyone on the planet eats huge amounts of red meat until enough of us die of cancer to make life on the planet sustainable?

  18. Eddie Edwards
    Thumb Down

    Is Lewis in the 1%?

    Anyone who's ever had to balance a paycheck should understand the concept that marginal savings here and there can be the difference between red and black at the end of the month. The argument that you shouldn't bother with marginal savings only works if you have larger savings available, or if you don't need to save anyway. Mr Page hasn't really demonstrated that either is the case here. But I envy his bank balance.

  19. Just_this_guy

    Lewis undermines his own claims to rational analysis when he says things like this:

    "Against this sort of picture, a paltry few-percent-at-best saving to be gained by somehow compelling most people in the world to remain on their present not-very-nutritious diets and (even more difficult) getting westerners to join them in this ... well, it hardly seems worth bothering with."

    Nobody would wish people to remain on, much less adopt, a "not-very-nutritious" diet. The original research evidently advocates reduced meat consumption, not poor nutrition. No nutrients obtained from meat cannot be obtained elsewhere.

    1. Alan W. Rateliff, II
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Is Lewis in the 1%?

      "I envy his bank balance."

      Therein lies the cancer which is killing our societies. I suppose you exist in the real 99% which is in the starving third-world? Personally, I am not in the so-called "1%" and I will happily pay a premium for certain items I deem worthy. I also realize that means shunting funds from another expenditure or working an extra bit to accommodate both.

      (Bear in mind, also, that the "1%" and "99%" monikers are completely arbitrary and not based upon any real numbers in real life or in this post.)

      Paris, on a fourth-world of her own.

    2. Chet Mannly

      Re: Is Lewis in the 1%?

      If you are posting comments on the web then you are also part of the 1%, everyone on the Western world pretty much is.

      Maybe take a trip to Africa to meet the real 99% before accusing a web journo of being some rich elitist and seeing your glass house shatter around you..

    3. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Just_this_guy

      "....No nutrients obtained from meat cannot be obtained elsewhere." WHOOT, WHOOT! Veggie propaganda alert! Yeah, heard that bumph before. Truth is meat is a very condensed form of many nutrients. To get the same from non-meat products requires either eating massive quantities of items such as nuts, or using supplements (which require polluting and resource-hogging manufacturing processes). Nuts are a very grund-intensive, require lots of water, and are a limited season source of nutrients, much more than open-field cattle farming. Sorry, that piece of Veggie FUD has long-since been debunked.

  20. Blitheringeejit

    @Peter Dawe - lay off the 'cumber!

    *MY* cucumbers don't need heated greenhouses or any logistics beyond me remembering to pick them - and they have lots of nutritional value - just not in the form of calories or protein. They are particularly rich in vitamin K, so are an ideal pick-me-up for clubbers on a night out. <ahem>

    A lot of salad-munchers grow their own salad and eat more seasonally than burger addicts - so don't knock them unless you have a Gloucester Old Spot in your garden shed.

    Flame-extinguisher icon please? Could use the pint, but it would be a shame to waste it.

    1. Fibbles

      Lovely organic cucumbers...

      Grown in artificially produced fertilizer or even worse, muck from those evil methane producing cows.

      I'm not having a go but arguing about what is better for the environment / people's diets / population size at anything less than a global scale seems a bit silly to me.

  21. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Uni of Exeter?

    Immediate lack of credibility. Apart from call girl autobiographies, have they ever published anything of real note? Cambridge and Oxford must be laughing at the wannabes.

  22. Doug Bostrom

    Hall of mirrors

    Sweet paragraph of self-cite Gish gallop at the end of the piece. Thank you for snapping me out of the impending hypnosis you induced, Lewis!

    As usual I'm left wondering what else in The Register is credible.

  23. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    So that's why climate modellers assume *doubling* CO2

    Because that's what they *expect* to happen.

    It's fair that it's to say that *no* single policy change/law/investment/clever hack would solve this problem.

    But 14ppm for a Draconian lifestyle change across the world. I don't think so.

    But what about the low hanging fruit. of reduce *other* atmospheric pollutants as described in other papers listed in El Reg? Better stoves, toilets that collect biomass, Methane reducing diets for cows.

    As for population changes better sanitation (fewer diseases), better healthcare (lower infant mortality) and better state support (don't need to breed your own care staff).

    A planet of 7 billion people on starvation level resources is likely to be a desperate place to be.

    A planet of 7 billion well educated well fed individual could advance further and faster than any civilization in history.

    To the stars or the graveyard.

    What would you rather have?

    1. Chet Mannly

      Re: So that's why climate modellers assume *doubling* CO2

      Well said!!

      I've never understood the human desire to revisit the dark ages expressed by a lot of alarmists...

  24. Volker Hett

    Everything is fine, no need to worry

    And it doesn't matter if we agree to change or diet or not when 1.3 billion chinese and 1 billion indians start buying all the oil to do farming as we did when we could afford it.

  25. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  26. Peddler
    WTF?

    Before the cattle came...

    bison were said to darken the North American plains. Are bison more polite than cattle? Do they refrain from passing gas? If a given amount of plant material is not eaten by a cow, would it not be eaten by a moose, 4 or 5 deer, or 70,000 crickets? And won't they produce more or less the same amount of GHG as the aforesaid cow? Who does the maths for these studies?

    1. Chet Mannly

      Re: Before the cattle came...

      "If a given amount of plant material is not eaten by a cow, would it not be eaten by a moose, 4 or 5 deer, or 70,000 crickets? "

      Biggest source of methane on the planet are termites - where is the conservationist war on those little critters, who are doing far more damage than cows are.

  27. Shannon Jacobs
    Boffin

    Is there ANYONE out there who believes ANYTHING this moron writes?

  28. Martin Budden
    Childcatcher

    "a paltry few-percent-at-best saving"

    I've read lots and lots of El Reg articles which say doing <whatever> isn't worth the effort because it will only result in "a paltry few-percent-at-best saving". I can't help but think that if all those few percents were added up the total could be significant indeed.

  29. Alan Brown Silver badge

    "agricultural efficiency"

    Driven by oil - mostly used in fertilizers, not as motive power for farm machinery.

    The biggest single driver for climate change is population, not average meat consumption. If everyone stopped eating meat tomorrow, fertilizer usage would be back up to current levels within 5 years.

    THAT is the man behind the curtain that all the handwaving is trying to distract everyone from.

  30. JaitcH
    FAIL

    TThis is good news for McBarfs ...

    now they can cut down the rest of the Amazon Forest.

  31. Herby Silver badge

    Of course there are "Beefeaters"

    Somehow this evolved into a nice beverage that is best enjoyed with a splash of vermouth and a nice olive (I prefer a nice onion, but that is another story). In fact two weeks ago I enjoyed a nice juicy steak (it was around 12 ounces). Mighty tasty.

    In addition I have a nice grill fired by propane (the one that uses charcoal briquettes hasn't gotten much use since I got the propane one). It produces wonderful tasty devices that are wonderfully fit for consumption.

    So yes, I am a member of People Eating Tasty Animals.

  32. Volker Hett

    The Problem with Greenhouse Gasses

    There are no Greenhouse Gasses :)

    Certain molecules vibrate with the frequency of infrared light and thus "store" energy which would be reflected otherwise.

    H2O, CO2 and CH4 are the most prominent of those.

    So if there is more CO2 in the atmosphere, it gets warmer.

    When it gets warmer, more water evaporates and releases water vapor into the atmosphere, which stores more heat and gets warmer.

    Cold water stores more CO2 than warm water, so more CO2 is released into the atmosphere, which gets warmer.

    At a certain point permafrost will stop being permanent and there is a lot of methane stored in permafrost. Which then will be released into the atmosphere which in turn stores more heat, I.E. it gets warmer.

    Which leads to warmer oceans which evaporate more water into the atmosphere ....

  33. indulis
    FAIL

    Lewis "cross my palm with silver" Page, 100% certain fortune teller

    You have to love the off the cuff, everything will be fine, unknown inventions will fix all our problems (because they did in the past) predictions from Lewis. How great to be gifted with second sight.

    His prediction that "If agriculture doesn't increase in efficiency there's big trouble ahead ... There's no reason to think this will happen, however - agriculture has been improving its game for a long time" is a good indication of a general lack of thought and logic in his articles.

    No-one can predict what improvements in agriculture may or may not happen. Especially with climate uncertainty (whether caused by CO2 or not things are getting weird).

    It is a monumentally bad idea to rest the world's trust in the logical fallacy that "things will continue as before, and continue to improve as they have to date". Tell that to the inhabitants of Japan (no tsunami yesterday, today should be fine). Tell that to the people with antibiotic-resistant TB (we've easily invented new effective antibiotics before so we can again). Tell that to the engineers at Intel (we have managed to boost clock speeds every year from 1990 to 2005, we can keep going!).

    No sense, no logic. The usual Lewis Page dribble.

  34. Frank Leonhardt
    Black Helicopters

    Actually, they probably right but for the wrong reasons

    Uncomfortable fact, but the rearing of livestock does appear to create a rather awkward volume of greenhouse gasses. The UN published a report on this in 2006, and it's nothing new.

    http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?newsID=20772

    Exeter's figures look odd to me, too; they're just another alarming distraction, and the whole bio-fuel issue is somewhat dodgy at the best of times. But the article headline may well be right, even for the wrong reasons.

    Of course, politicians would rather clobber motorists than the general carnivorous population, so not much gets talked about agriculture.

    Oh yeah, and it doesn't take much to work out that growing plants to feed cows in a shed isn't going to be as efficient as growing plants and eating them yourself - which could make a difference if the population increases.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Malthusian misanthrope

    The problem goes back to Malthus, likely a liberal arts major who flunked math. He used bad data

    as input to incorrect calculations, resulting in totally incorrect output (not too far from the

    "CAGW" hysteria models of today".^

    1) The planet is NOT a living organism (c.f. GAIA Gore-i-a), although living organisms inhabit it

    2) There are plenty of resources available for the current population, and, if most projections bandied

    about by OECD, UN, &co. are correct, population will start to decline starting at the middle of this

    century anyway (oops, there goes the tax base...)

    3) Models are just that...hypothetical extrapolations of data, sometimes questionable...such that

    4) There is no replacement for observation - unfortunately we can't go back in time, and have to

    accept what is available...but we should make every effort to have a "quorum" of data...one

    tree (hello Briffa/Mann) does not constitute a forest....

    5) The scientific method says that experiments must be reproducible and "falsifiable".

    6) Science isn't by consensus, it's by experiment...the greatest advancements in science were

    when current theory was disproved/corrected/refined (i.e. "falsified")

    7) Research done on the public dime, on public time, at public instutions (US definition of public...)

    is the property of the public, i.e. taxpayers funding said research. OK to charge for

    printing/binding/etc., but holding OUR science behind a paywall is wrong

    8) This "greenwashing" is nothing more than a thinly-veiled attempt to usurp money from those of us

    producing goods and services and squandering it on the "freetards" who believe it is better

    to receive than to give...

  36. Sirius Lee
    Thumb Up

    Well done Lewis

    Keep up the good work.

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Give it up already

    There's really nothing to argue about.

    The scientific evidence is overwhelming that vegan (not vegetarian, but vegan) diet is inherently healthier than non-vegan diet, beef-board-sponsored "research" notwithstanding. Although it's possible to live entirely on whale, for example, there's nothing nutritionally missing from a vegan diet except vitamin B12 (only because we no longer rip things out of the ground and eat them with the microbes still attached). And don't start with me on "where do you get your protein", else I'll introduce you to my fellow vegan, pet gorilla.

    As for ecological impact, meat and dairy production is destructive in multiple respects: land use, water use, greenhouse gas production (especially methane), and food use (as livestock feed).

    "Modern" production of meat and dairy, in which animal remains are used as feed for naturally herbivore animals, causes or spreads all sorts of fun diseases, from salmonella to BSE (which you get as CJD from eating it).

    As for animal welfare, go on all you want about free-range this and cage-free that, but you're still enslaving creatures and ultimately killing them. If they had any say in that, I don't think they'd go for it.

    I'm not trying to get you to stop eating meat. You'll do whatever you want. Just stop wasting time and energy pretending that it doesn't matter what you take from the earth and put in your mouth.

    1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Give it up already

      "There's really nothing to argue about...." I suggest that translates to you just being too closed-minded to be able to consider any counters.

      "....The scientific evidence is overwhelming that vegan (not vegetarian, but vegan) diet is inherently healthier than non-vegan diet...." Please do provide some links to back up that bumph.

      "....I'll introduce you to my fellow vegan, pet gorilla...." Goodie, he can act as a light snack for an equally imaginary friend Mr T-Rex. I suspect yuour real friends are too undernourished from their diet to be able to put up much of a fight.

      "....As for ecological impact, meat and dairy production is destructive in multiple respects: land use...." what, you mean like the much larger amount of land needed for fields used for wheat, corn, oats, carrots, brocolli, in fact ALL veggie food? "....water use...." Please name one crop that doesn't need water. Please, just try, just so the rest of us can laugh even harder. "......greenhouse gas production (especially methane)...." What, you want to kill off all the animals just because they fart? Going by your arguments, you should be top of your extermination list. ".... and food use (as livestock feed)....." Guess what, plants need fertiliser for productive farming. Now, where would you get the fertiliser without animals? If you actually lived even close tot eh countryside you might have noticed over the winter and the farmers started putting their cattle to graze on the fields because cow manure is an excellent way to replenish the nitrogen levels in the fields. No cattle, no replenishment, and fields would have to be abandoned after use for several years, meaning more land would be used without cattle.

      "...."Modern" production of meat and dairy, in which animal remains are used as feed for naturally herbivore animals, causes or spreads all sorts of fun diseases...." yeah, because people never catch Tetanus from improperly washed veg, do they? Let alone a host of other bacterial infections.

      "....As for animal welfare, go on all you want about free-range this and cage-free that, but you're still enslaving creatures...." So is it OK if I just hunt and kill wild animals then? Surely I can make exactly the same pointless argument about farmed crops - they're "enslaving" wild plants, making them live in an unnatural environment, and then we eat them!

      "....If they had any say...." I'm sure if carrots could speak they'd tell you were to shove your veggieburger. Fail, fail, fail.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Give it up already

        > "There's really nothing to argue about...." I suggest that translates to you just being too closed-minded to be able to consider any counters.

        FAILed translation. I just don't argue with reality.

        > "....The scientific evidence is overwhelming that vegan (not vegetarian, but vegan) diet is inherently healthier than non-vegan diet...." Please do provide some links to back up that bumph.

        If you were seriously interested, you'd have done your own homework. I noticed that you didn't provide any links, either. But you can start here: nutritionfacts dot org.

        >water use...." Please name one crop that doesn't need water. Please, just try, just so the rest of us can laugh even harder.

        [Us? Are you actually suggesting that you speak for others?]

        Since you appear to be determined to miss the point in order to forward your beliefs, I'll try to spell it out for you. Crops do indeed need water. Crops fed to cattle, for example. You can eat the crops, or you can eat the cattle. If you eat the grain that you would have fed to the cattle, you use less water than if you fed it to the cattle and then waited and ate the cattle. A LOT less water. In cubic meters per kilogram of food:

        Beef (grain fed): 15+

        Lamb: 10

        Poultry: 6

        Cereals: 0.4–3

        Citrus fruits: 1

        Pulses, roots and tubers: 11

        > equally imaginary friend Mr T-Rex

        Not quite equal. Your imaginary friend is extinct, mine isn't. But I wasn't trying to make a childish "my daddy can beat up your daddy" argument. My point was that it's quite possible to build a lot of muscle without eating muscle.

        > What, you want to kill off all the animals just because they fart? Going by your arguments, you should be top of your extermination list.

        Again, nicely missed point. So childish that it doesn't deserve a response, but I'll try to respond in kind. It would take a whole lot of badly prepared beans for me to fart enough to match livestock's contribution to greenhouse gasses (about 9% of total anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions, 37% of methane emissions and 65% of nitrous oxide emissions).

        > Now, where would you get the fertiliser without animals?

        Try leguminous cover crops. Next question...

        > ... enslaving wild plants, making them live in an unnatural environment, and then we eat them...

        Oh please.

        > ...I'm sure if carrots could speak they'd tell you were to shove your veggieburger. Fail, fail, fail.

        Yada yada yada...

        1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Re: Give it up already

          "....FAILed translation. I just don't argue with reality...." No, you just ignore it.

          "....I noticed that you didn't provide any links...." Try some of the following:

          http://www.ayushveda.com/nutrition/health-benefits-of-eating-meat.htm

          http://www.acu-cell.com/veg.html

          Both of which have a few pointers on the problems with low iron, low protein veggie diets and phosphorus issues. And I love your link to a site with a video of a doctor that looks like he's at death's door! Funded by a charity investment group (cough*tax dodge*cough) run by an ex-Forestry Officer, a sociollogy major, and a lawyer. Yeah, they're just so qualified - NOT!

          "....Are you actually suggesting that you speak for others?...." Yes, all the omnivores sick and tired of being lectured by know-nothing hippies. I notice you still can't provide a plant that doesn't need water. This is my surprised face, honest.

          "....A LOT less water....." Very debateable. For instance, meat is a very simple and single source of amino acids and protein in one small portion. To get the same with veg means half-a-dozen different veg at best, all which have to be grown separately and then brought to the same site. If you go the usual veggie mantra and insist that you can use tropical nuts, consider that those are an exotic fruit and have to shipped across the World to reach us, causing far more pollution and using far more resources.

          "....Your imaginary friend is extinct, mine isn't..." Wow, what a pathetic rejoinder. The whole point was to illustrate how stupid your non-point was. Want to put your gorilla up against a Bengal tiger? How about comparing to a mako, or an orca? How impressive is your gorilla compared to a Blue whale? Face facts - omnivores or carnivores usually sit at the top of all food chains, whilst herbivores are usually just providing the dinner.

          "....My point was that it's quite possible to build a lot of muscle without eating muscle...." Buffaloes are bigger than lions, but that's just bulk due to their low-nutritional diet. Like cows, they need multiple stomachs to digest their food and a big frame to carry those stomachs around. Lions have one stomach, just like us (because we are not designed for a veggie-only diet, otherwise we too would have multiple stomachs), want to guess which one is the top of the food chain predator? Would you like a clue to help you, I'm guessing you'll need one.

          "....So childish that it doesn't deserve a response....." LOL! The typical veggie/vegan schpiel is based on a childish inability to accept that eating meat is perfectly natural and beneficial. When you start with that level of argument don't be surprised when you get treated like a child. Go look at your teeth in the mirror and accept the fact you are an evolution based on meat eating as part of a healthy diet.

          "....Try leguminous cover crops...." So, you want to grow more crops, using more land and water, just to provide fertiliser? That won't generate enough nitrogen for two stages of growth. You would have to leave twice as much land fallow for fives times as long. You also ignore the fact that cows can eat grass, a low-impact "crop", which does not make a good fertiliser, and will grow on many land areas high-value crops like corn won't. And then cows recycle the nitrogen from the grass through their pats in a far more efficient manner than any amount of legume-based fertiliser. Which means cows need a massively smaller amount of land than the equivalent amount of vegetable fields and forest required to grow the veggie equivalent. Thank you for demonstarting why your vegetarian gospel is based on faith rather than fact or science.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Give it up already

            I'm not going to go point-counterpoint with you on this, especially when the bulk of your argument amounts to little more than childish distractions ("want to put your gorilla up against a Bengal tiger?"), flawed logic ("omnivores or carnivores usually sit at the top of all food chains" -- umm, isn't that the very definition of food chain?), inconsistencies from one paragraph to another ("Buffaloes are bigger than lions, but that's just bulk due to their low-nutritional diet" versus "How impressive is your gorilla compared to a Blue whale"), misinformed generalizations ("we are not designed for a veggie-only diet, otherwise we too would have multiple stomachs" -- WTF?), collapsed distinctions ("you are an evolution based on meat eating" -- adaptation is not the same as evolution. We may be quite adaptable as a species, but our teeth, digestive chemistry, and 7m-long small intestine, are evolutionarily ill-equipped for ripping flesh from bones, breaking down fur and feathers, and digesting meat without putrefaction), reliance on discredited information (the whole protein argument was retracted long ago by its originator), and lame attempts to discredit a doctor who reviews and summarizes thousands of published, peer-reviewed, scientific research studies (because his web site is "Funded by a charity investment group (cough*tax dodge*cough) run by an ex-Forestry Officer, a sociollogy [sic] major, and a lawyer").

            As for the "facts" provided by your two links? One is an uncredited blog posting, and the other is from a company that markets supplements and didn't provide a link for it's boldfaced reference to "clinical studies". It appears that you are the one demonstrating that your point of view is based on faith rather than fact or science.

            As I said in my OP, you'll do what you want to do. Enjoy your meat and dairy. No need to get all worked up about vegans. Unless of course your greatest fear is that you're a latent :-).

            1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
              FAIL

              Re: Re: Give it up already

              "'m not going to go point-counterpoint with you on this...." So that's a big admission of failure.

              "....the whole protein argument was retracted long ago by its originator...." Please do account for the amino acids point. Oh, you can't - what a surprise!

              ".....Enjoy your meat and dairy...." I have every intention of, and if even half you veggies stuck to the same principle it would probably be fine.

              "....Unless of course your greatest fear is that you're a latent." No, I just have a low threshold of tolerance for idiocy masquerading as science due to a misplaced sense of moral superiority.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Give it up already

                "'m not going to go point-counterpoint with you on this...." So that's a big admission of failure.

                No, I just don't like to waste my time.

                "....the whole protein argument was retracted long ago by its originator...." Please do account for the amino acids point. Oh, you can't - what a surprise!

                And what was your "point"? Oh yeah, that vegans need to get all sorts of vegetables and tropical nuts (or did you call them fruits? it was rather confused...) in order to get the amino acids in meat. Try soybeans. Or quinoa. Or spinach (surely, you must at least be aware of Popeye the Sailor Man). Each of those contain a full complement of the nine essential amino acids. And no Lipitor is required after eating!

                Here's a link: http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/protein.htm

                ".....Enjoy your meat and dairy...." I have every intention of, and if even half you veggies stuck to the same principle it would probably be fine.

                I've been a vegetarian for well over 30 years. Looks like it has "stuck".

                "....Unless of course your greatest fear is that you're a latent." No, I just have a low threshold of tolerance for idiocy masquerading as science due to a misplaced sense of moral superiority.

                Really? I've posted links and quoted real nutritional science. You gone on childish attacks (see above...). regurgitated hearsay, and quoted some random blogger. Moral superiority hasn't had a thing to do with it. But now that you mention... :-)

                That's it for me! Go ahead, have the last word.

                1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
                  FAIL

                  Re: Give it up already

                  "....No, I just don't like to waste my time....." Trying to argue that it is not natural to eat meat is so patently bollocks that it would have to rate as a massive waste of time to most people.

                  "....Try soybeans. Or quinoa. Or spinach...." Of which only spinach is native to the UK, the rest requiring very polluting transport from abroad. Yes, so ethical! One of the reasons vegans get such a bashing is because they often brainwash their children into the same diet, meaning they rarely get enough histidine which they would if they ate meat and dairy products. Most vegetarians are of an identically idiotic mind, often going veggie for the most stupid of "moral" reasons and then not having a clue what they need to eat to replace the essential aminos they lose form their diet when they give up meat, and wishful veggie advice like "oh just eat spinach" is the reason the majority of them end up so unhealthy.

                  "....you must at least be aware of Popeye the Sailor Man...." Yes, about as factual a source as the rest of your schpiel.

                  "....I've been a vegetarian for well over 30 years. Looks like it has "stuck"....." You obviously haven't been getting enough tryptophan, maybe you should eat a lot more of that spinach. Or just a steak. I was suggesting you veggies stick to your diet and stop lecturing the rest of us, which you obviously have not done.

                  "....Really? I've posted links and quoted real nutritional science...." What, a link to a veggie site that makes money selling veggie cookbooks? Hardly an unbiased source. Try a uni like this:

                  http://newsroom.melbourne.edu/news/n-224

                  One of the findings of the study lead by Prof Felice Jacka (background here http://educationinnutrition.com.au/recordings/view/the_link_between_diet_and_mental_health) was that people that don't eat enough meat - especially veggies - were more likely to suffer from anxiety, depression and other mental disorders due to insufficent essential amino acids in their diets. Explains why half the hippies look ready to cut their own wrists, along with their problems discerning reality from fiction. Looks like it hits Anon Cowards too. I suggest you go eat a few burgers for your own good.

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Give it up already

                    > Trying to argue that it is not natural to eat meat is so patently bollocks that it would have to rate as a massive waste of time to most people.

                    Your sweeping, unsupported generlization confuses "natural" with "normal". While it may be normal to eat meat, it is hardly natural given that we don't have proper fangs, stomach acids, and short digestive tracts that are found in natural carnivores. You can eat meat. You can be a fruitarian. You probably can be an insectivore. Just because you can doesn't mean that you should.

                    And since you've brought up "natural", let's talk about dairy. How natural is it to continue to suckle past infancy, into adulthood, throughout your whole life? To suckle something other than your own mother? To suckle another species? Natural?

                    > ... vegans ... often brainwash their children into the same diet .... Most vegetarians are of an identically idiotic mind ... the majority of them end up so unhealthy....

                    Yada yada yada.

                    > http://newsroom.melbourne.edu/news/n-224 One of the findings ...was that people that don't eat enough meat - especially veggies - were more likely to suffer from anxiety, depression and other mental disorders due to insufficent essential amino acids in their diets.

                    Really. How in the world did you arrive at that conclusion from that link? The researcher found that people who eat what she considers to be a healthy, balanced diet are less likely to suffer from mental disorders than those who eat highly processed junk food. Maybe you should eat more carrots.

  38. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Joke

    Why eat meat when you can eat vegitarians.

    Low body fat, plenty of prime cuts for the freezer.

    This could be a winner.

  39. Mpeler
    Mushroom

    Mmm, Mmm, Good....

    I love animals!

    They taste great!

    Especially Barbequed....

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