When Anti-Meat Opinions Masquerade As Science

Anti-meat crusaders can barely contain themselves today as the scientific mainstream has tossed them what appears to be substantial support for one of their favorite talking points. Last night The Lancet medical journal published this “study” arguing that the threat of climate change requires a global reduction in the consumption of meat and other animal products.
PETA and its meat-is-murder compatriots have been running with that particular line of thought for decades — mostly to no avail, since the average American is sensible enough not to take dietary advice from animal rights activists. But the Lancet paper changes things, primarily because it lends an air of scientific credibility to what would normally be seen as activist fear mongering.
Our quote marks above (around the word “study”) are there for a reason. Just a quick glance at the document in question reveals that it’s suspiciously void of what most people would consider essential to an objective scientific investigation — actual evidence. Instead, we get eleven pages of unsupported assertions about the dangers of cow, pig, and goat flatulence (really), some all-too-familiar warnings about an impending global warming apocalypse, and a set of ill-defined policy recommendations geared towards getting governments to force their citizens to eat less animal protein. So it’s more of a meandering op-ed than a “study.”
Still, even assuming the evidence justifying global warming panic is incontrovertible (a pretty hefty assumption) and that animal agriculture is a major contributor, there are some significantly more effective, less intrusive solutions than hamburger quotas and milk rationing. As we wrote in a statement to the press yesterday:
If someone can breed livestock that emits less methane, [we’re] all for it. But consumers are never going to give up their steaks, milkshakes, and drumsticks. This opinion paper doesn’t offer convincing reasons why they should.

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