Are we in danger of being forced to eat less meat by decree?
Climate Minister James Shaw says people worried about their carbon footprint could reduce their meat intake by a meal a week, but says this is not the government’s official stance. . .
“Ninety five percent of new Zealanders consume meat, and it is fairly obvious there is a lot of water, a lot of energy and a lot of land use that goes into protein production that way,” he said.
A lot of water, energy and land use does go into producing protein by grazing animals.
But a lot of water, energy and land use go into producing the equivalent protein and other nutrients in vegetarian and vegan alternatives.
“If somebody wanted to have an immediate impact, they could eat one less meat meal per week.
Is that statement based on the New Zealand system which a Lincoln University study found produced meat that landed on a UK supermarket shelf had a lower carbon footprint than the locally product?
“We’re not encouraging that as a government. What we’re trying to do is to ensure that there’s settings right across the economy that make sure people are supported.”
So not no meat by decree, but what does making sure people are supported mean? Will we be paid to not eat it?
Health professionals are generally happy with moderate amounts of lean meat as part of a healthy diet.
Whether “supporting” people to eat less meat is better for the environment and health depends on what replaces it how what replaces it is produced and on its nutrient value.
Has anyone done a study on the environmental and financial costs of looking after land that no longer grazed stock but wasn’t suitable for growing crops or vegetables?