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Does eating Low Carb and beef/dairy harm the environment?

Discussion in 'Low-carb Diet Forum' started by pdmjoker, Dec 18, 2018.

  1. pdmjoker

    pdmjoker Prediabetes · Well-Known Member

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    Not necessarily, no...

    There have been media stories recently about how beef production causes carbon emissions, like section 7 on this page:

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-46384067


    where it says the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change "says we need to: buy less meat, milk, cheese and butter". :(

    However, it entirely depends on how the beef is reared:

    a quote from:

    http://www.eatwild.com/environment.html

    "When properly managed, raising animals on pasture instead of factory farms is a net benefit to the environment. To begin with, a diet of grazed grass requires much less fossil fuel than a feedlot diet of dried corn and soy. On pasture, grazing animals do their own fertilizing and harvesting. The ground is covered with greens all year round, so it does an excellent job of harvesting solar energy and holding on to top soil and moisture. As you will read in the bulletins below, grazed pasture removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere more effectively than any land use, including forestland and ungrazed prairie, helping to slow global warming."

    ie: grass fed cows under correct (traditional) managment are GOOD for the environment and making artificial fertiliser, which uses fossil fuels, is avoided.

    More can be heard of this here:

    https://lowcarbcardiologist.com/lccp039-lierre-keith-the-dark-truths-behind-veganism-vegetarianism/

    from 26:21 onwards.

    There's also a TED Talk by Chad Frishmann which also mentions the value and wisdom of traditional farming:

    https://www.ted.com/talks/chad_frischmann_100_solutions_to_climate_change

    We CAN eat Low Carb and care for our planet... :)
     
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  2. Resurgam

    Resurgam Type 2 (in remission!) · Expert

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    Grazing animals also holds back deserts - it was commonly 'understood' that desert nomads and their animals damaged the land and caused it to become desert, but after nomads were 'encouraged' off the land in many places there was not only no benefit, but the desert expanded faster than before.
    Herding animals helps to concentrate nutrients and brings moisture to depleted soils, seeds and scraps of plants are carried for long distances and sometimes for months - avoiding conditions bad for germination clinging to the fleece or fur.
    Animals taken up to summer pasture in Alpine regions also bring people with them, and they tend to repair the problems which could start soil erosion in order to maintain the pasture - creating stone lined channels to divert melt water into slow moving streams moving diagonally across slopes rather than pouring vertically is the most obvious benefit.
     
  3. jpscloud

    jpscloud Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    I think sadly it's a numbers game. Traditional pasture farming can't compete with intensive farming to keep up with demand, even though intensive farming is harmful to animal welfare and the environment.
     
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  4. Oldvatr

    Oldvatr Other · Well-Known Member

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    Actually one of the largest contributors to CO2 buildup and bigger byfar than animal rearing, is the construction industry. Cement emits larger quantities of CO2 during its manufacture, chemical reaction when mixed with water, and also in terms of transport costs and storage heating etc, as well as tha machinery used to mix concrete, and lift it and transport it when mixed on a building site. So far China far outstrips the rest of the world in this arena by at least 2x according to WHO statistics. This was raised at the recent COP24 meeting, and was shouted down by the anti animal lobby. It seems that instead of putting up a proper counter argument, they try to stifle any discussion out of hand by making the most noise and interruptions,
     
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  5. Oldvatr

    Oldvatr Other · Well-Known Member

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    Intensive livestock rearing still needs feedstock, it just gets supplied by agribusiness instead of smallholdings. Certainly it is more time intensive to raise animals than dumb fields and this costs money and effort, so it is cheaper to be a cropgrower but not necessarily more profitable. However, the recent horsemeat scandal surprised many to discover how far our meat travels now from processing abbatoirs on the continent, and how easy contamination and corruption played a part. The shuttling of meat across the borders and back again for invisible profit is another scandal which makes a mockery of the concept of fresh meat. We need to improve our act certainly.
     
  6. NicoleC1971

    NicoleC1971 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    There is also a good book called The Vegetarian Myth which points out some of the environmental, moral and health contradictions of a plant based diet (author Lierre Keith was a vegan).

    e;g. if we are not willing to eat animals why are willing to kill slugs to grown mono crops of soy ! The book is well researched amd compelling which is probably been viciously attacked for it by militant vegans (she is an apostate after all.)

    For me there is an unanswered question about whether is is possible to get enough protein to feed the planet without destroying our soil (over use of fertiliser) and de forestation or 'factory farming'.
    Michael Pollan (Ominvore's Dilemna) describes ideal farms as 'grass farmers' (not talking about Canada!) where crops and animals rotate through different pastures and a wide variety of crops are grown.
    I am not guilty about eating meat but have the luxury of being fussy about how my food is grown and can pay a little more so perhaps people like us can support that kind of production but I am unsure about what the solutsions are for poorer people across the planet?
     
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  7. Guzzler

    Guzzler Type 2 · Master

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    Peter Balerstedt on the subject, he has a couple more presentations on YouTube for those interested.

     
  8. Tipetoo

    Tipetoo Type 2 · Expert

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    More greenie propaganda again, may they all starve in the dark. :meh:
     
  9. Mbaker

    Mbaker Type 2 (in remission!) · Well-Known Member

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    Yes it does....if you are militant Vegan / WFPB. The narrative has been played to their tune and become part of "our" general belief. As with all these types of claims I do my own fact gathering.

    When I found out that "they" rely on facts that have been pulled by the authors, that raises an eyebrow. The final straw in the coffin for me is when they include rain water which would have fallen on land anyway but include this in the amount a cow uses, this for me removes credibility.

    This is a compelling listen

     
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  10. jpscloud

    jpscloud Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Yes indeed we do. My point is that demand cannot be met by traditional pasture farming, upsetting as that is.

    The reason for BSE was that herbivores were fed protein derived from the remains of slaughtered animals from the meat industry, a result of having to develop enough feedstuffs to feed enough animals to meet consumer demands. In short, there's not enough grass.

    There is not now the land, in this country at least, to revert to pasture farming if it is to meet our demands. I eat meat and so am a hypocrite because I believe the meat industry is abominable. I am holding out hope for the slaughter free lab-grown meat currently being developed. Please note I am not against slaughter as such but find the practices of the meat and dairy industries terrible. Again, I accept the label of hypocrite.
     
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    #10 jpscloud, Dec 19, 2018 at 9:27 AM
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2018
  11. Resurgam

    Resurgam Type 2 (in remission!) · Expert

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    But that is nonsense. There is more than enough food around - more than enough land too - what there is not is the willingness to have the animals there eating the foodstuffs, or to move the foodstuffs to where the animals are. It might be down to the costs of transport or the wages of animal herders, but it is not down to a lack of land.
    A cousin of my father - they come from farming stock on his mother's side - had a smallholding on a very cold and exposed slope of hillside. He covered it in poly-tunnels and found that he could raise animals at low cost, with fewer people needed to look after them. The cost of the poly-tunnels was covered by the grass growing for weeks sooner in the season, and weeks later in the year. That was over 30 years ago so these days the grass might grow all year round, what with global warming.
     
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  12. Oldvatr

    Oldvatr Other · Well-Known Member

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    Simple test of that logic - take a drive into the countryside, and see how many fields have animals grazing in them.
     
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  13. NoCrbs4Me

    NoCrbs4Me I reversed my Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    I'm not going to wreck my
    Most of them do where I live. The nickname for my city is "Cowtown".
     
    #13 NoCrbs4Me, Dec 19, 2018 at 7:21 PM
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2018
  14. Guzzler

    Guzzler Type 2 · Master

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    This could be because the dairy industry has been decimated and the call for older animals eg hoggit has diminished. Also factor in the at one time it was said that all arable farmers would choose to grow rape because of the returns but the government put caps on it.
     
  15. SamJB

    SamJB Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    In our household, we've had a recent drive to be a bit more ethical. Almost impossible to live in our society without having negative consequences on our environment or to livestock. We try to reduce our meat intake, we try to buy from local producers/butchers/green grocers etc and try to avoid consuming animal products from mass produced factory livestock (i.e. battery chickens, farms etc).

    We're going to attempt to do "Veganuary" and dry January; might make some lifestyle adjustments from there. God help me though - I love meat, cheese and booze!
     
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  16. NoCrbs4Me

    NoCrbs4Me I reversed my Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    Interesting. That does seem to be the current conventional wisdom regarding our food supply and the environment (i.e. less meat is better for both). I came to a different conclusion and now eat mostly beef and very little plant food for both my health and the environment's health. I live in a part of the world (Alberta, Canada) where grasslands supported bison for millenia and the local population thrived off bison for millenia - they were probably the most successful hunters on the planet. Most of the agricultural land here is not good for much besides growing grass, so now the bison have been replaced by cattle. They graze on the grass for a few years out in the fresh air, then spend a few months fattening up in a feed lot. They are treated very well by the ranchers (I know some of the ranchers and they really do care for the cattle in a humane way). So about 90% of my food is very locally grown and processed.

    Almost all of the fresh fruits and vegetables in grocery stores here are imported from thousands of miles away due to our rather short growing season. Most of this imported produce comes from the Central Valley in California, which is basically a semi-desert, so the growers rely on depleting groundwater for irrigation (they are constantly drilling deeper wells and/or going to court to get more groundwater allocations). They rely on poorly paid, poorly treated migrant workers to plant, grow and harvest. Less than half of what is grown actually makes it to peoples' stomachs due to wastage along the supply chain. It's not a very environmentally friendly or ethical system, so I have opted out of it. I also don't buy ultraprocessed "food", almost all of which also comes from the US.
     
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  17. Brunneria

    Brunneria Other · Moderator
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    I will be very honest; I do not eat carnivore because of ethical reasons, although I do prefer my animal proteins to not be battery farmed. I eat it because my guts won't tolerate most non-carnivore foods because of the fibre, and won't tolerate non fibrous veg because of the carbs.

    However, having said that, it is astonishing what a difference it has made to our household.
    - a lot less cooking, so less fuel used and lower bills. Easier to batch cook, freeze and microwave.
    - smaller volume of food coming into the house, less hassle with shopping and transport
    - a heck of a lot less waste
    - no longer buying the old imported staples of green beans (Africa), avocado (Mexico, Chille, Peru, US, Netherlands), courgettes, aubergines, peppers (mainly Spain), olive oil (heaven knows where, or how adulterated, but likely Greece, Italy and Spain), etc. etc.
    - am now buying meat from local butcher who has a huge sign outside his shop saying 'sourced from local farmers'
    - fish is usually supermarket, but everysooften we get a great deal on a side of salmon from the docks
    - fat is either Irish grassfed butter, double cream, lard or home rendered beef tallow.
    - and I am compiling a list of ethical meat suppliers who sell half lamb or hogget for home delivery
    - if I cannot get organic free range eggs, then we don't eat eggs

    And you know what? The shopping bill is significantly lower (£15-£20/week lower) than when we were paying for all those international airmiles, diesel fillups and customs duties.

    Edited to add: I do still eat exotically produced chocolate and non-local goatsmilk yogurt, but hey, I never said I was perfick...
     
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    #17 Brunneria, Dec 20, 2018 at 2:51 PM
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  18. SamJB

    SamJB Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I agree with that. We principally want to avoid buying from supermarkets, we'd rather give our money to local shopkeepers who have kids to feed, mortgages to pay etc. We also want to avoid mass-produced meat, where possible, as I'm uncomfortable with buying meat from animals that have not had a pleasant existence; our butcher's suppliers are local farms that I know. I don't think you can escape the fact that low paid migrant workers will be picking veg, unless you grow it yourself.

    Difficult to adhere to Utopian ethics, but I'm doing the best I can reasonably do.
     
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  19. NoCrbs4Me

    NoCrbs4Me I reversed my Type 2 · Well-Known Member

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    I guess my point was that giving up or reducing meat consumption may not help the environment as much as you might think it does. However, I think giving up seafood can help the environment. Humans have really devastated the oceans by over-fishing.
     
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    #19 NoCrbs4Me, Dec 20, 2018 at 3:25 PM
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  20. LucySW

    LucySW Type 1.5 · Well-Known Member

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    Lierre Keith’s book is very good. I recommend it.
     
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