Wanted: Meat for a Hotter Planet
Scientists search for more resistant livestock to feed global demand for meat
By Polly Davis Doig, Newser Staff
Posted May 5, 2014 2:20 PM CDT
In this 2013 file photo, a cattle skull in the midst of a two-year drought.   (AP Photo/Jordi Matas-UNICEF)

(Newser) – Food scientists are on the hunt for livestock that can withstand heat—and we're not talking your Fourth of July barbecue. Rather, as the LA Times reports, they're looking for heat-resistant breeds that can be incorporated into American flocks and herds and thrive even as global temperatures spike. The stakes are intense, because the world's population is growing—and increasingly meat-hungry—yet rising temperatures could lead to everything from mushy turkey breasts to the decimation of entire herds of cattle: "We have to start now to anticipate what changes we have to make in order to feed 9 billion people," says one University of Delaware researcher with an eye on the 2050 global population estimate.

Some, like Bill Gates, don't believe that's possible. "There's no way to produce enough meat for 9 billion people," Gates wrote recently. "Yet we can't ask everyone to become vegetarians." He advocates creating fake meat based on pea proteins. Others believe the answer lies in "more efficient" livestock that can withstand heat waves while consuming less water and feed. India's Brahman cattle, for example, do great in the heat—but not so well among picky consumers palates. So researchers have their eyes on a super breed that combines a Brahman's toughness with the taste of an Angus. Click for more on what would happen if Earth went vegetarian.

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Showing 3 of 36 comments
Flyer3237
May 7, 2014 11:45 AM CDT
Yes, I believe it is time for everyone to look around and notice that population control needs to be exacted immediately! If families began limiting their progeny to 2 per couple then we could slow population growth to near zero within a generation. China will have effected population growth to -15% by 2025 with their 1 child policy. India needs to enact a population growth policy as well. The US needs to stop illegal immigration in order to deliberate a stoppage in population growth. Religions should begin a dialogue inside this forum with their members to propitiate change.
WE
May 6, 2014 9:52 AM CDT
You want to do something constructive to help the problem? 1. Cut the human population by a few billion (back to sustainable levels) 2. Stop cutting trees and start planting them. Everyone is crying that we need to stop creating more CO2. Has anyone flown just over the US lately and seen the incredible loss of plant life? We don't need to create less CO2 we need to get back all the CO2 scrubbers (and oxygen producers) we have cut down and burned away. Humans are always looking in the wrong direction to solve our problems. Now I know none of the above will happen...so sooner or later as the resources get more and more scarce another world war will erupt (if a killer disease doesn't take us down a few pegs first) and at least the population problem will get a fix in the right direction. Have a great day! :)
No-Left-Turn
May 6, 2014 9:03 AM CDT
You do realize that these special breeds would have died during the last winter in North America. It snowed (lightly) in parts of Minnesota SUNDAY.