Abandoning humanity’s traditional dietary choices in favor of salads and soy protein is a construct lost of born-again veggie believers embrace. But a credentialed scientist? Please.
Yet another study has just been published linking the consumption of animal foods with the destruction of the planet through exacerbating climate change. While I understand the threat that continuing production of greenhouse gases (GHG) poses for the global (and local) ecosystems, I’m getting sick of reading studies that all conclude the same way (as this one does): “It is likely that reductions in meat consumption would lead to reductions in dietary GHG emissions.”
Titled, “Dietary greenhouse gas emissions of meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians and vegans in the UK,” the study, published in the journal Climate Change (June 2014), purports to make the case that switching to a vegan diet would have a significant impact in reducing levels of GHG emissions.
As is always the case, it has serious flaws.
For starters, the lead investigator, Peter Scarborough, a researcher at the University of Oxford’s British Heart Foundation Centre, is a card-carrying member of the British Vegan Society. Might there be a wee bit of bias in his report? Just maybe?
Scarborough is also a specialist in two other areas that don’t support arguments about his objectivity: A scheme he’s developing to apply additional taxes on food products based on (his) calculations of their impact on public health and a related proposal to incorporate the cost of GHGs into the retail price of food.
Be glad this guy doesn’t hold an important public office.
Second, from reading through his methodology, it’s apparent that Scarborough recruited participants to the study through advertisements in vegan magazines and on vegetarian websites. Veggies who signed up were then asked to recruit their friends and relatives, a process he euphemistically called “snowballing.”
Most people call it “skewed sampling.”
Not surprisingly, based on the way the participants were chosen, he ended up with 42,838 women and only 12,666 men, and 25,915 non-meat eaters, compared with 29,589 meat-eaters. No way is that sample even remotely representative of the general population, which matters because the analysis of the GHG emissions was based on the differences between Scarborough’s arbitrary categories of vegan, vegetarian, fish-eater and meat-eater.