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U.S. Livestock Industry: Lowest Environmental Impact System in the World.

U.S. Livestock Industry: Lowest Environmental Impact System in the World.

4/29/2016 12:14:00 PM/Categories: General News, Today's Top 5, People in Ag, Livestock, National News, Research

University of California, Davis, professor and air-quality specialist Frank Mitloehner, Ph.D., is working to clarify the role of livestock in greenhouse gas emissions. Mitloehner recently published a white paper titled "Livestock's Contributions to Climate Change: Facts and Fiction," that shows food animals are minor contributors to U.S. and global GHG emissions. 

In the paper, Mitloehner notes that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and leading scientists have quantified livestock as the source of just 4.2 percent of all U.S. GHG emissions. This is a long way from the repeated claim by special interest groups that livestock account for up to 51 percent of all GHG emissions - as much as or more than the transportation and energy sectors that contribute 27 percent and 31 percent, respectively. 

According to EPA data, beef cattle contribute 2.2 percent, dairy cattle 1.37 percent, swine 0.47 percent, poultry 0.08 percent, sheep 0.03 percent, goats 0.01 percent and other (horses, etc.) 0.04 percent of GHG emissions. 

Putting these percentages into perspective, Mitloehner's figures show that if all Americans adopted Meatless Mondays, the annual reduction in U.S. GHG emissions would total 0.6 percent. In contrast, if Americans replaced incandescent lightbulbs with "Energy Star" rated bulbs, the reduction in GHG emissions would be 1.2 percent each year, twice that from abstaining from meat. 

Read Mitloehner's full white paper at 



Source: American Sheep Industry Newsletter



Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS: Cows on rangeland in Toole County, Montana. July 1983 


2 comments on article "U.S. Livestock Industry: Lowest Environmental Impact System in the World."


M Covault

12/11/2016 8:17 PM

EXCELLENT article and proper rebuttal to the nonsensical "studies" that claim livestock are major environmental polluters. California legislators and the Governor need to see this--not that they would accept this *common sense* white paper!


Karin Eckhard

5/8/2017 5:34 AM

The same can be said about this nonsensical ¨study¨that claims livestock are not a major contributor to environmental pollution.

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