Friday, December 04, 2009

Backing Red Meat

Sir Paul McCartney is a good singer. Well he might be a good singer. I was a John Lennon man myself, so I'm a bit biased against him. Whatever, he makes a whole lot more sense when he's singing than when he starts preaching about the impact red meat has on the environment. Charlie Brooks, writing in today's Telegraph shares my low opinion of Sir Paul's prejudiced opinions. I have no problem with those who prefer to be vegetarian - as long as they don't start telling the rest of us what to eat. Yesterday, Sir Paul was in Brussels outlining his belief that eating red meat is a major cause of climate change, and to promote the idea of Meat-Free Monday. What he's doing of course, is piggy-backing the climate change debate to pursue his 'holier-than-thou' preaching about vegetarianism. As Charlie Brookes writes, his opinions might count for more if he wasn't one of the worst carbon footprint offenders on the planet.

So happens this subject came up last night at a meeting of the North Powys Grassland Society annual meeting last night, where I was one of a 3-member Question Time panel. Inevitable the subject of cows breaking wind had an airing. I do not deny that this is an issue. I understand that sheep burping from the 'other end' poses a similar a similar problem. What we need is more research into cattle diets to reduce the problem. We ostomates understand the issue only too well. After my lower bowel resection in 2002, I had to learn not to eat anything that would lead to embarrassing 'noise'. Same with cows. There's a lot of good work going on at Aberystwyth University and in the US. Apparently feeding them garlic improves things hugely.

Production of red meat is the main form of farming in most of Wales - and its a sustainable industry. In Wales the main part of the diet is grassland, which requires little ploughing up of the turf, which does release CO2. Grass takes CO2 out of the atmosphere, offsetting the gas that is emitted by the grazers. I suppose Sir Paul McCartney would prefer us to plough up our land every year, piling on the fertilizer and sprays - probably onto GM into the bargain, to grow grain for humans to eat without converting it into meet. Its always sensible to look at the wider picture. You see more - if you have your eyes open that is. Sir Paul was speaking 'yesterday' - and that was one of my least favourite.


hyllsin said...

"... eating red meat is a major cause of climate change ..."

It's like they are the new fascists who want to impose their will on the rest of us. Isn't it kind of funny that many of these fascists are smokers - what about the tractors and machinery used to grow and process tobacco and the man hours involved in treating patients with lung cancer?

It just begs belief - has anyone bothered, for example, to work out the biomass of mankind (as in everyone currently alive on the planet) verses the biomass of insect that eat each other.

OK, insects don't use tractors to plough fields. But I would hazard a guess that mankind is kind of outclassed in biomass terms by insects ... but if you then add on all the other fauna - mankind in terms of biomass looks even more insignificant.

Shouldn't Paul M stop smoking whatever it is he's smoking. What about the fast boats/planes etc. used to smuggle hard drugs for druggies? I'm sure Paul M's carbon footprint is somewhat larger than the average red meat eater

Glyn Davies said...

hyllin - And Sting is no better. These very rich people reckon that if they use part of their massive wealth to mitigate their equally massive personal carbon footprints they are ok. Well not in my book they're not. Neither of them have the slightest credibility. I hope they carry on mitigating but they should carry on singing rather than lecturing the rest of us.