How sustainable are fake meats?
arstechnica.com
external-link
Checking whether plant-based burgers may have lighter environmental footprints.

Indeed, when independent researchers at Johns Hopkins University decided to get the best estimates they could by combing through the published literature, they found that in the 11 life cycle analyses they turned up, the average greenhouse gas footprint from plant-based meats was just 7 percent of beef for an equivalent amount of protein. The plant-based products were also more climate-friendly than pork or chicken — although less strikingly so, with greenhouse gas emissions just 57 percent and 37 percent, respectively, of those for the actual meats.

Similarly, the Hopkins team found that producing plant-based meats used less water: 23 percent that of beef, 11 percent that of pork, and 24 percent that of chicken for the same amount of protein. There were big savings, too, for land, with the plant-based products using 2 percent that of beef, 18 percent that of pork, and 23 percent that of chicken for a given amount of protein. The saving of land is important because, if plant-based meats end up claiming a significant market share, the surplus land could be allowed to revert to forest or other natural vegetation; these store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and contribute to biodiversity conservation. Other studies show that plant-based milks offer similar environmental benefits over cow’s milk.

Soy milk, for example, requires just 7 percent as much land and 4 percent as much water as real milk, while emitting only 31 percent as much greenhouse gas. Oat milk needs 8 percent of the land and 8 percent of the water, while releasing just 29 percent as much greenhouse gas. Even almond milk often regarded as a poor choice because almond orchards guzzle so much fresh water—uses just 59 percent as much water as real milk.

But not all plant-based milks deliver the same nutrient punch. While soy milk provides almost the same amount of protein as cow’s milk, almond milk provides only about 20 percent as much—an important consideration for some. On a per-unit-protein basis, therefore, almond milk actually generates more greenhouse gas and uses more water than cow’s milk.

Once you understand a 1/4lb of beef requires the same amount of water the average human uses showering for a month, the fact alternatives are easier on the planet is commonsensical. Beef should truly be a high priced commodity (~$300/lb at least) but thanks to the US government subsidies there are $1 burgers on every corner. At this point the only logical conclusion is the US government is attempting to see how fast they can deplete the world resources…

@jokeyrhyme
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23 mesi

Yeah, I was toying with the hypothetical of needing a licence to eat beef

That way, only people who actually need and use all that protein can get it (e.g. body builders, people with specific medical needs)

That would solve the demand side, at least

Just like cattle, which are much more massive than us, we can get all our needed carbs, fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals from plants. One of the most insane stats when it comes to the beef industry is 3/4 of all crops grown in the US are used to produce feed for livestock.

Ideally we would switch 100% to vegan alternatives so then we’d have more than ample supply! Instead of a license for beef, how about something like if you havest it you take it to help eliminate hunger. I’m a vegan weightlifter (7 Years) and at 5’10" 185lb I can confidently say I feel better overall, more energized, and have no issues with protein deficiency.

@linuxtube
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§hreddy §cientist
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Huh, from what I was reading half of the habitable land on the planet is used for Ag. Of which livestock accounts for 77%. So sure, I can see feeding corn stocks to cattle instead of composting but there’s no way the ~100 Billion livestock processed each year globally are not taking a majority of grown Ag. There’s no protein or fat in stocks too, so the feed has to be comprised of many other crops as well. As far as the land goes, Cattle aren’t native in the States at least so not too sure why the land would suffer without them in these parts.

@linuxtube
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§hreddy §cientist
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Makes sense, except for the fact on a cellular level the stocks will predominantly contain just cellulose which is a variation of startch. So that handleds carbs yet there are many other needs from a dietary standpoint to raise a cow.

I am not against others eating meat, I have dietary restrictions, but daily consumption or even at every meal is unreasonable in my eyes. Plenty of data demonstrating its harmful effects on the planet at the current scale. 99% of meat is from factory farms but if it were a natural population of cattle being raised on small farms nationwide, that would make things make much more sense.

@linuxtube
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§hreddy §cientist
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Are you seriously saying the list of reports identifying factory farms as the perfect breeding ground for zoonotic viruses and massive air and water pollution shouldn’t be considered? Its like you work for the beef industry. Even more so, back in the early 2000’s a book called The China Study demonstrated the much higher consumption rate of red meat in the west is directly associated with the higher cancer rates compared to the east. But I enjoy science while it seems you enjoy meat and don’t care at what cost.

You know where herbivores get all of their nutrients from…plants, so plants are just as beneficial and dont require steps consuming more resources while also being the ideal breeding ground for bird and swine flu’s plus mad cow disease.

99% of All Animal Products in the U.S. Come From Factory Farms: https://www.livekindly.com/99-animal-products-factory-farms/

@linuxtube
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They’re important to soil health for sure but cows that are in CAFOs (which is most of them) are not improving the soil. We should still have cows but only pastured in ways that help the soil.

@linuxtube
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https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6039332/

In the US, cows do generally come from smaller farms’ cow-calf operations. They are either sold directly to feedlots after weaning or moved to backgrounding operations or ranches until they’re a year old, after which they’re sold to feedlots. 77% of beeves raised to market weight are done in feedlots with more than 1000 head which is the common definition of a CAFO for cattle. So even though they come from smaller farms, they mostly go through feedlots before consumption, and feedlots are dominated by CAFOs which have the most adverse effects. I wasn’t able to find data on what portion of cows aren’t raised to market weight in a feedlot (i.e. totally grass fed from birth to slaughter), and I additionally admit that I was oversimplifying the beef lifecycle. I also don’t see how this means that we need to increase cattle production. Surely the biggest gain to be made here is to move cattle and bison production to a fully regenerative framework where they stomp a reasonable amount of manure into the ground for their whole lives, but my intuition tells me that that will result in somewhat less beef being raised because such operations require more land than the status quo. I don’t have hard data to back that up though.

@linuxtube
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@guojing
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Cattle are extremely important to the health of soil. Getting rid of cattle would kill us all. We need them to keep the soil healthy.

I think for that, the animals should actually be grazing in the fields. Industrial handling of animals probably doesnt do much for the soil at all.

@linuxtube
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Like we have established the cows do spend most their lives in the grass

@guojing
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So clearly you have never been to a farm.

@linuxtube
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I buy all my milk and meat from a farm. The cows are in the grass all day every day.

@guojing
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Then they are lucky. In the farms I’ve been to, cows and other animals were inside stables most of the time.

@linuxtube
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I’ve seen hundreds of farms where cows live outside in the grass. You must live in a prison country.

@linuxtube
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created by deletor
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The cows pee

Source?

SudoDnfDashY
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IMG

created by deletor
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Looks shopped

SudoDnfDashY
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I feel like a lot of these are non issues. It’s not like we have any shortage of land, and for the most part, we don’t have a shortage of water, especially considering that many farmers are using well or rain water. And while veggies do have significant amounts of protein for a small amount of carbon, you have to eat much more to get the same amount of protein. I don’t mean to shit on vegetarians, and I understand some of their logic, but I think it’s gonna be a while before the economic and environmental benefits of plant-based protein can even come close to the health benefits of meat.

vxnxnt
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for the most part, we don’t have a shortage of water

I’m guessing you haven’t seen the news recently? Entire rivers are starting to dry up and droughts are becoming much more frequent. With the rising temperatures, water used for agriculture will also evaporate much quicker.

The US government is even implementing water cuts.

the health benefits of meat

Honestly, meat barely has any health benefits that plants can’t provide, aside from vitamine B12 (which can easily be taken as supplements). And it has even been observed that (red) meat tends to substantially elevate the risk of cancer and diabetes.

Here’s an example for such a study

@linuxtube
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@electric_nan
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I get that people have differing biological needs, but most people will be perfectly healthy on a vegetarian or vegan diet. Anecdote: I’ve been vegan for over 20 years and am just as healthy as my several omnivorous siblings. I’ve had a recent checkup including blood panel, and everything is in normal range for my age and activity level. Also, I would say that most (Americans) probably don’t eat liver.

As for water usage, we are talking about the total water cost to bring meat to the shelf. This includes the feed crops that wouldn’t otherwise be grown. And yes, water returns to the environment. There are still some important problems. Where does the water come from? Do we need more dams, which have an ecological cost? Do we drill more wells, thereby depleting aquifers faster than they can refill themselves? Water is not scarce in a planetary sense, but we have a lot of problems with exceeding the capacities of our regional watersheds.

@linuxtube
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@wabooti
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Ok bud, please substantiate your extraordinary claims with some peer reviewed studies in known journals. Otherwise I’ll have to delete your comments

@linuxtube
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The extraordinary claim is that a diet that no culture on earth has ever had and fake meat is more environmentally friendly that a diet that includes ruminant meats. If there is a specific claim I made you are confused about I would be happy to provide a source to educate you.

@wabooti
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You have failed to give a substantial answer. Will delete the conversation above.

@linuxtube
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You have failed to ask for a source for a specific claim. fine ill start my own community and bring the conversation there where it will be modded fairly.

@wabooti
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Feel free to do that :)

@electric_nan
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I found what seems to me a neutral look at the water costs of beef production. https://www.watercalculator.org/footprint/water-footprint-beef-industrial-pasture/ The relevant takeaway for me, is that it is true that grass fed and finished beef has far less impact than feedlot beef… feedlot beef is 99% of the beef produced in the US. It’s great that you put your money into the better of the beef options, but it isn’t representative of typical beef production.

As for my health, I hope it continues to be good! If I were to develop health issues that could only be remedied by eating animal protein, I would do it. The idea is repulsive to me personally, so I hope it doesn’t cone to that. If it did, I would raise a few chickens for eggs. I grew up on a farm and have slaughtered and processed chickens, goats and rabbits. Nasty work.

@linuxtube
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Nice link. Yeah I’m not saying factory farms are OK, and we should all eat grass fed, grass finished but feed lots are usually only used when they are being finished so I want people to at least be fair about it.

created by deletor
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the water used on animals is quickly returned to the environment

Where are you getting this from?

@guojing
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Where do you think the water goes? Just into a black hole?

created by deletor
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You think the beef industry just involves a bunch of cows drinking water and peeing it out?

@guojing
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A cow weighs around 600 kg, so it physically cant hold more than 600 liters of water. So cows alone can hardly contain enough water to cause a drought. I think its more likely to be lost in the ground (also from fodder production).

@linuxtube
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They drink pond water and then pee on the ground. Its not rocket science. You can’t move that water to a dry area of Africa. Water usage is a non issue.

Do you work for the cattle industry?

@linuxtube
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No

created by deletor
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i can’t tell if you are trolling or red meat has gotten to your brain

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