Interpretive Summary: Galyean appreciation club review: a holistic perspective of the societal relevance of beef production and its impacts on climate change
By: Luis O Tedeschi, Karen A Beauchemin
This article aims to provide data-driven information about the relevance of the U.S. beef cattle herd to our society and its greenhouse gas (GHG) contribution to climate change. The Environmental Protection Agency reported that U.S. beef cattle emitted 22.6% of the total agricultural emissions, representing about 2.2% of the total anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e). Although the GHG contribution of the U.S. beef cattle production is small, there are many opportunities to reduce enteric methane emissions from beef cattle, with realistic estimates of a 5% to 15% reduction. However, net-zero emissions will be challenging to achieve for beef production. Considering the relatively minor contribution of beef cattle production to GHG emissions, other sources with a greater contribution to GHG emissions should be a much higher priority for mitigation as they would have a more substantial impact on slowing global warming. Recommendations by health professionals for consuming red meat products should consider human nutrition, health, and disease and remain independent of perceived negative environmental impacts of beef production that are not based on scientific data.
Read the full article in the Journal of Animal Science.