The American Meat Institute (AMI) is taking exception to a recent commentary in the Washington Post that indicated the livestock sector is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Ezra Klein's commentary "The Meat of the Problem" (Food, July 29) was "inaccurate and not scientifically based," AMI President and CEO J. Patrick Boyle wrote in a recently published letter to the editor in the Washington Post.
Boyle's letter asserted that Klein's use of the U.N. report "Livestock's Long Shadow" as the foundation for his assertion that the livestock sector is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions worldwide missed the mark, noting that a 2007 Environmental Protection Agency report concluded that only 2.8 percent of U.S. GHG emissions came from animal agriculture.
Boyle said attributing worldwide numbers for GHG emissions to the United States is not appropriate because livestock production systems in the United States differ notably in genetic selection, feeding practices and other technologies.
"Assigning a percentage of global emissions to the U.S. system is misleading because the vast majority of global greenhouse gas emissions attributed to livestock production result from deforestation and the conversion of rain forests and other lands to crop or pasture land, which does not occur in the United States," Boyle added.
Furthermore, he noted, GHG emissions from the U.S. animal agriculture industry have remained nearly constant since 1990, while meat production increased by almost 50 percent, milk production by 16 percent and egg production by almost 33 percent.
"The animal protein sector in the United States is environmentally and socially responsible, and we strive to provide the safest, most abundant and most wholesome product to consumers domestically and worldwide," Boyle concluded.
Reprinted from Meatingplace.com