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AFF Sentinel V20 #57 - Cows, Cars, Misinformation and Ultimate Intent

Finley's Conclusion Is Spot On. People Are Catching On.

Steve Dittmer | AFF Sentinel

Colorado Springs, CO

Originally sent to subscribers 12/08/23

This is crazy. We just wrote about the inaccurate “Livestock’s Long Shadow” (LLS) report from the UN-Food and Agriculture Organization. But even in a great article about the overbearing global effort to stop livestock production, meat eating and eliminate individual liberties -- the writer quotes the same wrong figures.

In an age when one doesn’t have to go to the library or consult their World Book or Britannica encyclopedias to get facts, the wrong stuff spreads across the internet with the speed of, well, it’s faster than it’s accurate. Look up beef production and GHG on the internet and entry after entry indicts beef production as a huge culprit in global warming.

Allysia Finley has written an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal, “First They Came for the Cars, Then the Cows,” which is a terrific description of the ridiculous global attempts to, really, shut down livestock production, particularly in the Netherlands. But she quotes chapter and verse from the UN-FAO like they know what they’re talking about.

Everyone knows not to believe the UN on most everything…but they think its gospel when they’re pontificating on agriculture and climate. Remember the hockey stick claim by the UN’s global climate experts (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) that turned out to be just made up to justify predetermined goals and beliefs?

Finley references claims from LLS that livestock account for 11 – 17 percent of global greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions. Actually, Frank Mitloehner, UC-Davis notes that the EPA calculates that U.S livestock GHG emissions tally at four percent, with beef accounting for just 2.2 percent, dairy cattle 1.37 and swine 0.47 percent. That is compared to energy production at 31 percent and transportation 27 percent (EPA data).

This from the EPA that is no friend to American agriculture.

If most of the world’s “experts” had any knowledge of beef production, they would find it obvious that comparing beef production methods, efficiencies and, therefore, emissions on a per pound basis from European or South American beef production to U.S. production systems is like comparing bicycles to motorcycles. Global estimates bear little relation to U.S. or Canadian production systems.

“Finished” animals in many countries with little grain feeding weigh about the same as feeder cattle going in to feedyards in the U.S. Producing a 1,300-lb. live animal with an 750 to 950 lb. carcass in 14-18 months, grass fed until the final 90-150 days on concentrated rations is much more efficient than 2 – 3 years on grass yielding a much lighter carcass. The American system concentrates production using less time, less feed and water, using land unsuitable for farming for much of the life cycle and yielding much more meat on a per pound produced basis.

The original LLS report compared livestock emissions to transportation figures that had not accounted for all inputs and were calculated incorrectly. After Mitloehner pointed out discrepancies, the UN admitted their transportation figures and meat figures were unfair comparisons.

A UK Telegraph story noted, “The UN has admitted a report linking livestock to global warming exaggerated the impact of eating meat on climate change.

The Center for Consumer Freedom noted that Pierre Gerber, a policy officer with the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, told the BBC he accepted Mitloehner’s criticism.

“I must say honestly that he has a point – we factored in everything for meat emissions, and we didn’t do the same thing with transport,” he said.

The Consumer Freedom report was dated 03/24/2010, so the information refuting the LLS has long been out there but ignored by the media and activists who want to curtail or eliminate meat eating.

The original claim that livestock accounted for 18 percent of GHG emissions was later cut to 14.5 percent by the FAO in 2013, then to 11 percent in 2022, with several caveats on even that estimate. Maybe someday they’ll get it right.

It should also be noted that much of the global activist criticism of beef production cites deforestation, which has nothing to do with U.S. beef production.

Activist-fueled media can come up with ridiculous claims that bear no resemblance to facts or proven science.

Here’s a statement on, a German “international media outlet” with no other context we could find: “Today, an average of 9 kilograms of beef are consumed every day.” That is just shy of 20 lbs. of beef. We know of no carnivores -- two-legged ones -- that could accomplish that feat. We looked for context, as in per household, per sumo wrestler, football player. Nothing. DW stands for Deutsche Welle, the media company.

We applaud other information in Finley’s story. She notes that in order to meet the EU’s stringent future emissions targets, the government of the Netherlands, the world’s second largest agricultural exporter, is preparing to pay farmers to quit farming, to cut back on emissions from livestock and nitrogen fertilizer use.

New Zealand was planning to tax dairy farmers into oblivion, until the farmers revolted and the Labour government was voted out.

California, like it does with most industries, is planning stringent regulations forcing dairy and livestock operations to cut methane emissions and, more likely, shut them down. The story notes correctly that the state’s new regulations on space requirements for animals like pigs and chickens (Prop 12) have the ultimate purpose of driving farmers out of business and making meat and eggs more expensive.

Finley’s Wall Street Journal story finishes with a fantastic flourish we believe many Americans are beginning to understand.

The climate lobby knows that restricting or eliminating meat eating would be unpopular, even unconstitutional in many countries, she said.

“Instead, they urge that governments use regulation, taxes and subsidies to reduce the supply and increase the cost of meat, as they are doing with fossil fuels.

“The world’s poor will have to continue subsisting on unnutritious gruel just as they will have to do without cars, air conditioning and refrigerators, to achieve the global left’s net zero nirvana.

“But make no mistake: the climate religion’s ultimate goal isn’t to reduce carbon emissions or stop global warming. It is to force people to give up material joys and live as ascetics.”

And we would add, if the people starve, they won’t worry about that.  

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Edi. Note: Picture below courtesy beef Check off).


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