Meat Can be Tough on the Environment

Steaks do more damage than driving; cow farts also a problem
By Heather McPherson,  Newser User
Posted Jul 19, 2007 6:10 PM CDT
The "Moove to American" campaign tours New York harbor, calling for Americans to support 100% U.S. Beef. Recent discoveries indicate that beef's impact on the environment rivals that of the automobile....   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Four average-sized steaks generate as much greenhouse gas as an ordinary car traveling for 3 hours at 50mph. The meat also chews up 169 megajoules of energy, enough to light a 100-watt bulb for 20 days. These were among the findings of Japanese scientists investigating the effects of beef production on global warming, the Daily Telegraph reports.

The scientists used a range of data derived from a single purchase of beef. Two thirds of the energy went towards producing and transporting cattle feed, and most of the greenhouse emissions came from the animals' digestive systems in the form of methane. A spokesperson for the National Cattlemen's Association insisted that innovations in feeding practices are reducing these methane emissions.