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The real place of livestock in GHG emissions and their control for climate change

By: K. A. Johnson

Climate change presents multiple challenges to the livestock industry including the need to examine animal and environmental management practices to enhance efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions from animals and manure, reduce water and other resource use, and pressure to eliminate meat and livestock products from diets. This argument does not necessarily take into consideration the role of ruminant livestock across many different cultures across the world and the benefits grazing livestock have to regenerative agriculture. Additionally, the role and benefits livestock provide through upcycling byproducts of human consumption can be lost in the discussion but will have significant environmental consequences if they are not used. There is a recent body of literature that describes different alternatives for livestock management that address some of the concerns while maintaining the positive attributes ruminants provide. Examination of the ideas in that literature and associated data can benefit livestock managers, scientists who study livestock and society in general as important public policy decisions are debated and enacted.