Eat more meat to polluate less

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For most people, a beef-eating environmentalist is a contradiction. Ask climate experts what they think about meat and they will tell you that we should be eating a lot less of it. The United Nations has calculated that animal farming is responsible for 14.5 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions and red meat and dairy production accounts for well over half of that (65 per cent).

However, there is a small and growing community of farmers, scientists and academics who think rearing livestock and eating more, or at least maintaining, the amount of red meat we consume is part of the solution to climate change. They argue that well-managed livestock are the key to producing healthier soils that can take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and store them in the ground.

The trick is to get livestock to copy the movements of wild herding animals in nature. After all, cows and sheep are prey animals, and in the wild they would move regularly in a bunched group to find fresh grass to graze on and keep predators at a distance. Commonly called “mob grazing”, its supporters argue that it allows farmers to produce more meat per acre, without using chemicals or grains, and that the system produces healthier beef.

Sounds too good to be true?

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