Sunday, August 2, 2009

Eco-tarian meat eating

I've started eating more meat lately, and have been juggling the environment consequences of that.

To begin with, I bought some sausages from the local butcher. I did this because I can walk there and it's convenient. By contrast, to get kangaroo sausages, I need to drive to the markets. So, I wondered, is driving 14km to get a dozen roo sausages worse than walking to get a dozen beef sausages?

According to the Garnaut Report, emissions for production of meat are as follows (expressed in kg CO2-e/kg meat):
  • Beef: 24.0
  • Lamb: 16.8
  • Pork: 4.1
  • Poultry: 0.8
  • Kangaroo: let's assume 0.
Let's say a dozen sausages weighs a kilo. Then the beef sausages emit 24kg of CO2. To drive 14km, even in my old Magna, would produce only 4.1kg of CO2. That means I could drive about 80km to get my roo meat, and come out even. Wow!

At Coles the other day I noticed that they now have a "game meat" section. Not only was there kangaroo, but also wild goat sausages, vension steaks, and a bunch of other things. All of these animals are hunted in the wild, and are feral pest species. This is fantastic! So by eating this meat, I can help reduce the number of ferals animals causing all sorts of environmental degradation, and reduce greenhouse emissions. With kangaroos, I only avoid emissions. Who'd have thought you could do better than roo?

My housemate tells me that they are hunting feral camels for meat in NT and WA. Camels produce a lot of methane, and there is something like a million of them out there. The camel hunters are hoping to get emission credits for the emissions the camels would have produced if allowed to live!

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