Friday, 12 February 2010
Now research carried out by Cranfield University and funded by the WWF, no less, claims that vegetarianism may not be the most environmentally sound diet after all. The report says that meat substitutes such as soy, lentils and chickpeas are grown overseas and must be imported in large quantities if they are to replace home-grown red meat in the British diet. This will result in more foreign land being cultivated and raise the risk of forests being destroyed to create farmland. Meat substitutes also tend to be highly processed and involve energy-intensive production methods.
If there were to be a significant shift to vegetarianism in the UK it could actually increase the quantity of arable land needed to supply the UK. Donal Murphy-Bokern, one of the study authors and the former farming and food science co-ordinator at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said: “For some people, tofu and other meat substitutes symbolise environmental friendliness but they are not necessarily the badge of merit people claim. Simply eating more bread, pasta and potatoes instead of meat is more environmentally friendly.”
The study also concluded that some of the guesstimates about how farting cows and sheep damage the environment are fundamentally flawed because campaigners have not taken into account the impact the changes would make to the use of land overseas.
So, yet again, bad science causes another wheel to come off the climate change bandwagon and career headlong into militant vegetarianism. I’d call that a double whammy, wouldn’t you?