Debunking “livestock’s long shadow”

Remember the nonsense about livestock producing more greenhouse gas emissions than global transportation? The scientist who played a key role in debunking that myth, Dr. Frank Mitloehner, will present some of his findings during the upcoming Animal Agriculture Alliance Stakeholder Summit, scheduled for May 5 and 6 in Arlington, Va. Mitloehner is director of the UC Davis Agricultural Air Quality Center, and an internationally renowned authority on agricultural air quality, animal-environmental interactions, and environmental engineering. The Alliance asked him a few questions preparation for his presentation.

Q: What is the focus of your work at the Air Quality Center?

A: My lab works on pollutants from animal agriculture and related mitigation practices. We find out what processes generate emissions, the fate and transport and deposition of pollutants. The Ag Air Quality Center does the same but for all agricultural commodities-crops and livestock.

Q: What is most misunderstood about animal agriculture's contribution to greenhouse gas emissions?

A: Most misunderstood is the fact that modern agricultural practices are the best means to mitigate GHG. The public beliefs in this area (small=green) are ill founded.

Q: What part of the UN report "Livestock's Long Shadow" did you find most confusing or misleading to readers?

A: The comparison of livestock and transportation with respect to global GHG contributions was misleading because different methods were used to assess impacts. (*Editor note: Check out Dr. Motloehner's full study for details.)

Q: In the future, how will animal agriculture meet the growing demand for production while preserving natural resources?

A: The only way we can feed 9.3 billion people is to implement what we have learned in the developed countries with respect to improvements in efficiencies and apply these practices in the developing world as well. For example, one California cow produces 5 times more milk than her Mexican peer! We need to find ways to improve nutrient use efficiencies to reduce impact on natural resources while feeding a growing human population.

Hope that you will be able to join us at our tenth annual Stakeholders Summit in Arlington, VA! Dr. Mitloehner's presentation on the relationship between livestock production and the environment is sure to be enlightening, and we have 18 other speakers joining us to discuss other hot topics in food production, including legislation and consumer education.

Learn more about the Animal Agriculture Alliance 10th Annual Stakeholders Summit.

Source: Animal Agriculture Alliance