Most of us already know that meat production isn’t good for the environment. But the Environmental Working Group’s in-depth study on the impact of raising animals for slaughter, especially in factory farming, sheds even more light on the subject.
The graph above shows various sources of proteins and their environmental impact in terms of CO2 emissions both during and after production. It turns out that lamb causes the most emissions, more than even beef.
Luckily, Americans don’t eat too much lamb. Beef and cheese, on the other hand, show up a lot, especially in processed and fast foods. It’s no surprise that beef shows up second on the list of CO2 offenders (not to mention the dangers of using antibiotics in crowded meat processing plants), but to see cheese so high up on the list is disheartening. Vegans, gloat away.
The EWG’s “Meat Eater’s Guide” doesn’t necessarily promote a vegan lifestyle, though. Sure, everyone sticking to grains and forgoing meat entirely might be the best thing for the environment, but it’s an unrealistic expectation. The report takes a more reasonable approach by encouraging meat eaters to simply eat less, and to eat local, grass-fed, hormone and antibiotic-free meat whenever possible.
Just lay off the lamb.