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Letter: Livestock production a major source of carbon emissions
First Published Mar 08 2014 01:01 am • Last Updated Mar 08 2014 01:01 am

Olympian Arielle Gold laments the threat to winter sports posed by global warming ("Climate change threatens Winter Olympics," Opinion, Feb. 18), but expecting politicians "to take action on climate change" is a half-pipe dream. Diet changes could do more.

Consider that Food and Agriculture Organization scientists found that "livestock are responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions" — more than transportation. A University of Chicago study calculated that a vegan diet reduces more greenhouse gas emissions than switching from an SUV to a Prius.

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Consider these facts: Livestock use 30 percent of the earth’s land surface with 70 percent of Amazon forests now turned over to grazing. Livestock production affects 1.9 billion U.S. acres (excluding Alaska), 43 percent of which is public land. More than 250 million acres of public land grow crops to feed livestock; another 306 million acres are grazed (the equivalent of 14 Eastern Seaboard states plus Missouri).

More than 70 percent of American grain feeds livestock. Nearly half the water consumed here waters livestock. Half of all fish caught in our depleted oceans are converted to fishmeal to feed livestock.

With global meat production projected to more than double by 2050, isn’t it time for us to go vegan?

Ray Matthews


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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