The meat industry is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Not only of CO2 but many others related to the activities necessary to farm animals intensively. From raised rainforests, the long range logistics of GMO soy in South Africa to feed cattle in industrial farms in Europe. Soot, NOx, VOC, methane, ozone the range of damaging compounds is endless. The main reason for this is protection of cashflow in the carboncredit system, the system that tries to utlize as much fossil fuel as possible.
Devestaring and unnecessary GMO soy farming
The point of meat farming is to get animals to eat a lot, so they grow big and strong with lots of muscle, so that when slaughtered they produce a lot of meat. The idea that this is best achieved by feeding them simple diets, antibiotics and cramming them in a small space during their entire life may be a result of the incremental nature of improving production. Another factor determining the design of industrial meat farms is economic ‘loading’, meaning many parties want to be invloved in the proces, whether they are usefull or not.
Running into the dead end of incremental carbon fuel based ‘optimization’
The party for animals in Holland has placed animals in the forefront, redefining the challenge of farming to think from the perspective of animals instead of the end product or economic volume. If slave trade had never happened we would probably all believe animals feel and experience pain just like us. But because slaves had to be non human to be traded the idea animals did not have consciousness was taken as fact.
Joel Salatin shows how you can produce meat on a grass and grain diet. The grass is grown without tillage, plowing, and actually consists of many species of plants that together form a tasty snack for the animals. His farm model does have stables, but only for the wintertime, not as a kind of metal strait jacked in which animals are forced to grow. The carbon emissions are much less, and the soil actually accumulates carbon year on year.
Grass based farming with organic grain feedstock could have a negative carbon footprint.
Salatins farming method combines species on the same grass, chicken and cows, piggs in the forrest, which has the advantage that pathogens run into dead ends (and have a hard time anyway because they are mostly outside).