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Cowspiracy does it apply to Australia?

Australian beef production is actually more harmful to the environment and to the climate than in the
USA.
Climate
1. Australian beef and sheep produce 26% of national emissions, far more than the 10% commonly
quoted. Beef and sheep production in this country is responsible for (see http://bze.org.au/landuse):

Deforestation for pasture 14% of national emissions


Enteric Fermentation 10%
Savanna burning 2%
Total 26% of national emissions

2. Beef and sheep production is responsible for 30% of national emissions (over 100 years) or 49% of
national emissions (over 20 years), if short term emissions carbon monoxide and tropospheric ozone are
counted (these are not currently included in the national inventory). This is detailed in the recently
released Beyond Zero Emissions Land Use Plan http://bze.org.au/landuse.
3. Most Australian beef is grass fed on northern rangelands, grasslands and savanna. Grass fed beef
produce more emissions than grain fed due to feed quality. Management interventions to increase
methane/beef productivity are selective breeding and growth implants and both these are commonly
used now, so there is little room for further improvement. Most current research is on lot feeding
additives, and lot feeding produces only 2% of enteric fermentation emissions, so improvements here
will have little effect on overall emissions.
Environment
1. The Holistic method of intensive grazing has been offered by Alan Savory as a solution to increase
soil health and soil carbon. This method has been studies extensively in Australia (including studies by
MLA) and Savorys claims have not been supported by data. A review of these methods is here:
http://www.hindawi.com/journals/ijbd/2014/163431/abs/
2. Grazing is the greatest killer of the Great Barrier Reef. Each year the Queensland government
produces a Reef Report Card and commissions research on reef health. The greatest killer of coral has
been found to be fine sediment, the vast majority of which originates from grazed land in the GBR
catchments, particularly the Burdekin and Fitzroy catchments. see
http://www.reefplan.qld.gov.au/about/scientific-consensus-statement/sources-of-pollutants.aspx. Most
of the nitrogen and phosphorous pollution also comes from grazed land. Government plans have been
published to reduce pollution, but only 17% of graziers have complied, since compliance is voluntary.

3. A recent report by The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) found that the external (and
therefore unpaid) natural capital costs of beef production on land use, water consumption, air, land and
water pollution, waste and greenhouse gas emissions from cattle ranching and farming globally was
710% of revenue. In the case of Australia and New Zealand (analysed together), they found that the
unpaid external cost of cattle ranching and farming was US$17.3 billion, compared to a revenue of
US$3.4 billion per year.
4. Beef and sheep production has been responsible for degrading soil across most of Australia see
http://www.longpaddock.qld.gov.au/about/publications/pdf/preventingdegradation.pdf .
5. 66-68% of all crops used for domestic consumption are for feed, about half for beef and dairy
production see http://bze.org.au/landuse.
Gerard Bisshop
8 November 2014