Much has been said about cattle that increase carbon and methane levels in the atmosphere. Test were done on cattle in the European Union. Options were considered on how the emissions could be reduced. It was found that dairy and beef cattle contributed 60 per cent of pollution for the whole livestock industry.
Because little can be done about body waste emissions, efficiency factors were at the center of the study. Poor land use was the second highest factor in global greenhouse gas emissions after direct production. Pollution for wasted food followed inefficient use of land.
As usual the investigators did their calculations on how much pollution could be lessened if their advice was adopted by the livestock industry. It was estimated that the lowest impact would be a reduction of 12 per cent. Optimists in the group said 60 per cent.
Somehow consumption of meat was to be reduced. Just how this was to be done was not made clear. With people in developing countries adopting a taste for Western food potential meat consumption will probably increase, even if in the EU less is consumed.
It was found that changing to grain fed beef from grassland beef would decrease pollution. This is a questionable hypothesis considering more high quality grain would have be grown to feed more cattle. It is a very expensive way of producing beef as well. This finding was based on the assumption feed lots would be constructed on poor grazing land and good grazing land was left alone. This in itself would be a decrease in overall production efficiency. To reduce greenhouse gasses consumers would ultimately have to pay the price. Like the carbon tax, few countries will introduce a more costly meat production system purely because it will raise the price for consumers.