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1.

Do you see environmental benefits of a eating plant-based diet?


As long as we balanced diets, no, I havent seen any strong evidence
for a plant-based diet rather than one that includes animal products.
Although there are papers out there linking, for example, high
processed meat consumption to health issues, we might well see the
same effects of high consumption of many foods (e.g. pickled
vegetables are cited as being probable carcinogens) and these effects
are not able to be differentiated from other lifestyle effects e.g. Do
people with a high rate of processed meat consumption also exercise
less or drink more alcohol? Environmentally, there are always tradeoffs. For example, if we move to a wholly plant-based diet we have an
increased dependence on inorganic fertilisers (because we have no
animal manures) and lose the environmental benefits conferred by
grazing animals.

2.

What are the major environmental disadvantages to plant-based


diets?
See answer above. There are no clear pros or cons, save for a potential
(emphasis on potential) reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions,
however, that depends on the choice of foods within the diet. For
example, recent analyses showed that asparagus consumption was
associated with greater GHG emissions than pork or poultry.

3.

Thoughts on pasture raised vs. factory-farmed animals?


Im proud to say that Ive never met a farmer who Id consider to have
a factory farm - every farmer or rancher Ive ever met cares for their
animals and does not treat them as machines. That applies whether
animals are housed or grazed on pasture both systems can be
excellent, or in a small minority of cases, have issues. When it comes
to the taste of grass-fed products (specifically beef) compared to cornfed, thats purely personal taste.

4.

Thoughts on lab grown meat?


I honestly dont think itll ever take off. We already have meat
alternatives (soy, quorn, seitan etc) and while they are often popular
with vegetarians or vegans, they really dont seem to have penetrated
the mainstream market. The only situation in which I can see it being a
viable alternative is if it actually looks/tastes like meat (apparently
it doesnt at present) and is cheaper or more widely available than
meat.

5.

When did animal agriculture become a large industry and business?

Good question. In terms of the proportion of the population employed


in it, it was actually much bigger a century ago than it is now. There
are certainly more large farms around nowadays, but it should be
noted that the majority of farms are still small-sized and familyoperated.
6.

It is known that pig waste is stored in lagoons. Where does all the
excess waste from other animals raised for consumption end up?
Note that pig waste is only stored in lagoons before it is spread on
fields as fertiliser. Waste from other animals is also used
as fertiliser, regardless of whether it is first stored in a lagoon, in a
straw/muck pile or whether its directly deposited onto land (I.e. by
grazing animals).

7.

Do you think animal based foods will see a decrease in the next 50
years?
I think that we are extremely unlikely to see a decrease in demand,
especially as demand grows from consumers in Africa, India and China
over the coming decades. That does not mean that everybody will
have access to the same (or greater) quantity of meat as we eat now
as demand is not the same as consumption. So although consumption
may decline (primarily due to a conflict between the increased
population and the difficulty of producing supplying everybody with
enough meat) demand?(as measured by the price that people are
prepared to pay) will increase. Thus, the only way that the
consumption of animal-based foods will decline is if they become
disproportionally expensive.

8.

Where do you think animal agriculture could use the most work? Ex.
Water usage, land usage, methane production, etc.
Water use. All agricultural industries have worked over the years to
reduce the quantity of water required by improving efficiency, but that
will become more crucial as we have more consumers competing for
water resources.

9.

Do you see advancements happening soon for animal agriculture


that are more sustainable?
There have been some great advances over the years in terms of
improving the way that animals are fed, bred, cared for etc, and these
have all helped to reduce the environmental impacts of animal
agriculture. We should see more of this in future, assuming that
farmers and ranchers still have access to the management practices
and technologies that allow them to improve efficiency.

10.Is it true that the livestock industry creates more green house gases
than transportation?
No. This statistic was thoroughly debunked by Pitesky et al see
here: http://www.saiplatform.org/uploads/Library/AdvAgrClearingtheAir
Mitloehner2009.pdf
11.What is the best way to educate an unknowing consumer on this topic?
We have to listen to consumer concerns and questions, help them
understand that farmers and ranchers care about producing the best,
safest meat and dairy possible and do everything they can to take care
of their animals. If we lead with science without letting the consumer
see that we care, we lose the opportunity to educate.