The Animal Agriculture Alliance has come out with a white paper called "The Myth of Meatless Monday," written by agriculture environmental/sustainability expert Judith Capper, PhD, Washington State University. The white paper is in response to the Environmental Working Group’ recommendation that people eating meat-free one day a week will reduce their carbon footprint.
In the paper, Capper says the U.S. livestock industry has come far in reducing its carbon footprint over decades. “Improved milk yield conferred by advances in nutrition, management, welfare and genetics means that compared to 1944, the carbon footprint of a modern gallon of milk is reduced by 63%. Despite the greater amount of milk produced nowadays, this has helped the dairy industry to reduce its entire carbon footprint by 41% between 1944 and 2007. The beef industry has also improved productivity, with cattle growing faster and being finished at heavier weights. Between 1977 and 2007, this reduced the carbon footprint of a lb of beef by 18% percent, with concomitant reductions in land use, water use and energy use.”
Capper says pointing the finger at certain foods is not the answer to reducing the carbon footprint on the earth. “Forget demonizing specific foods, or suggesting that one single action can save the planet. We need to understand and quantify how all our choices have consequences – and act accordingly.”