Producing 1kg of beef emits more green houses gases than going for a three hour drive whilst leaving all the lights on at home, scientists reported today. The study, carried out by Akifumi Ogino at the National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science in Tsukuba, Japan examined the environmental cost of rearing livestock.
The scientists attribute these emissions to a combination of the cows belching and gases being released through the production process. The study also raises concerns about further pollution caused by rearing cattle, and in particular the emissions of phosphates and sulphur dioxide.
However, it is clear that the study in fact underestimates the environmental cost of livestock as it fails to take into account managing farm machinery and transport costs. Ogino and the other authors of the report are calling for an overhaul in agricultural production. An earlier study, carried out in Sweden in 2003, suggests that switching to grass feeding and organic methods could significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions.