Beef Magazine is part of the Informa Markets Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Animal Agriculture Good For The Planet

img_1519.jpg William Hayes is a meat industry professional from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and a writer for the Meat Trade News Daily. In a recent article, Hayes questions the validity of global warming and wonders why agriculture is taking all of the heat for the theory that the world is getting hotter.

“I’m not an educated man, rather a slaughterman who left school at the age of 15 to kill sheep and cattle in 1962. However, I remember the Black Country north of Birmingham (England), and the stacks pouring out soot and smoke from the mills and factories. Every house in England was burning logs or coal as there was no smokeless fuel or cental heating. I also remember the steam trains burning coal, and I realize full well how things improved in my lifetime.

“Then I began to wonder how we got from the Ice Age to today, over millions of years, and, of course, it was global-bloody-warming. So, why all the fuss today? What concerns me is why everyone blames the farmers and their cattle.”

Hayes asks some very pointed questions in his article, one being; if global warming is happening, then why is it so cold everywhere? Look at the recent winter storms in Europe and the record-breaking blizzard on our own East Coast. In Argentina, where Hayes now resides, the country experienced the coldest winter in 2010 since 1919.

Whether you believe in the theory of global warming or not, one thing is certain -- animal agriculture isn't the cause of it. In fact, the entire U.S. agriculture sector accounts for only 6% of annual U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, according to EPA. Of this, livestock production is estimated to account for 2.9% of total U.S. emissions. Globally, it's estimated that livestock production and manure contribute only 5.1% to world GHG emissions, according to World Resources Institute. Share that with your colleagues when the topic of global warming comes up. For more facts and figures, link to Critical Analysis of Livestock's Long Shadow.

What's your take on the global warming debate? What do you think of Hayes' comments?