Derrick Z. Jackson should have done a bit more climate-change research before indicting meat producers for planetary woes (“One less burger, one safer planet,” Op-ed, April 15).
While the UN claims meat producers are responsible for 18 percent of global greenhouse gases, data from the Environmental Protection Agency show that US livestock production only contributes 2.4 percent. If anything, Jackson should be encouraging us to eat home-grown beef, since our domestic ranchers appear far more efficient and eco-friendly than their counterparts overseas.
Besides, social scientists who fret about food shortages as some grain is diverted into livestock production seem to ignore the obvious solution: more efficient grain production. As genetically modified plant varieties make more headway in the Third World, crops will be more than plentiful enough to support an increasing global appetite for meat.
It’s only natural that advocates of a slide toward vegetarianism are trying to hitch their cause to the global-warming bandwagon and other hot-button environmental causes. But the facts just aren’t on their side.