Meat-free diets may not be good for planet: Scientists

London: Giving up meat may not be as green as it seems, claims a new research that could put a dent in the green credentials of vegetarians and environmental activists.

The Cranfield University study found that switching from beef and lamb to meat substitutes such as tofu and Quorn in Britain would increase the amount of land cultivated, raising the risk of forests being destroyed.
Production methods for meat substitutes can be energy intensive and the final products tend to be highly processed, found the research, commissioned by the environmental group WWF, the Daily Mail reported.

According to the researchers, “A switch from beef and milk to highly refined livestock product analogues such as tofu could actually increase the quantity of arable land needed to supply the UK.”

Donal Murphy-Bokern, one of the reports authors and a former coordinator at the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: “For some people, tofu and other meat substitutes symbolize environmental friendliness but they are not necessarily the badge of merit that people claim.”

 But Liz O Neill, of the Vegetarian Society, said: “If you’re aiming to reduce your environmental impact by going vegetarian then its obviously not a great idea to rely on highly-processed products.”

Environmentalists have been claiming that livestock farming is a major source of harmful gases and one of the main menaces of the environment today.

A spokesman for the WWF said it was important to remember that livestock produce large amounts of methane, a much more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

According to a recent UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report, livestock production is one of the major causes of the world’s most pressing environmental problems, including global warming, land degradation, air and water pollution, and loss of biodiversity.

 Using a methodology that considers the entire commodity chain, it estimated that livestock are responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, a bigger share than that of transport.

However, the report said, the livestock sector’s potential contribution to solving environmental problems is equally large, and major improvements could be achieved at reasonable cost.

PTI – Zee

2 Responses to Meat-free diets may not be good for planet: Scientists

  1. Steve Marinker from the Quorn Team says:

    The Cranfield report for WWF mentions Quorn but in fact the authors have already acknowledged to us that the part of their study which deals with Quorn is wrong and was based on inaccurate assumptions.

    In fact, an analysis conducted by De Montfort University in 2009 suggests that Quorn mince has at least three times less embedded carbon than beef and our own analysis shows that production of Quorn products like mince and pieces uses land more efficiently than beef production.

  2. Montel says:

    It’s a feel good article because it incorporates how animals and vegetables work in synergy to produce the raw fruits and vegetables one needs to gain optimal nutrition without sacrificing on empty caloric intake.

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