09 November 2009

From Today's New York Times

Cattle To the Editor:

Nicolette Hahn Niman (“The Carnivore’s Dilemma,” Op-Ed, Oct. 31) is simply wrong in suggesting that grass-fed beef produces less methane than feed-lot meat. It is the other way around, with grass-fed animals producing up to three times more methane.

It may be true that in some trials scientists have found ways to reduce methane emissions from cattle, but until these methods are in widespread use, they are simply not relevant to the consumer choices we face.

In any case, globally, only 8 percent of all meat is produced in natural grazing systems, and there is little available unforested land suitable for such systems. To replace factory-farmed meat without further tropical forest destruction is impossible.

Hence the call to cut down or eliminate meat-eating, especially beef, should be supported by everyone concerned about the future of our planet.

Peter Singer
Geoff Russell
Barry Brook
New York, Nov. 3, 2009
Peter Singer is a professor of bioethics at Princeton University and the author of “The Ethics of What We Eat.” Geoff Russell is the author of “CSIRO Perfidy.” Barry Brook is a professor of climate change at the University of Adelaide, Australia.