Keeping the Carbon Footprint of Livestock in Perspective

DanCattle, Dairy & Livestock, Environment


The proposal of the Green New Deal has once again put the animal agriculture industry back into the spotlight in relation to its environmental impact.  The proposed legislation looks to aggressively confront greenhouse gases coming from livestock, despite agriculture as a whole only being responsible for approximately nine percent of all U.S. emissions.

“It is irresponsible and it’s misguiding the public to believe that the true sources of pollution are downplayed, and the impacts of animal agriculture are grossly inflated,” said Dr. Frank Mitloehner, Professor and Air Quality Specialist in Cooperative Extension in the Department of Animal Science at the University of California, Davis. 

Mitloehner highlighted an interesting point as there are more horses in the U.S. than there are dairy cows, however that is rarely a point of discussion when addressing environmental impacts of animals.  “What I also find very interesting, that all these people tooting the impacts of animal agriculture will always talk about cows and beef cattle and sheep and swine and so on, but they would never raise issues of companion animals such as horses,” said Mitloehner.  “If we have more horses than dairy cows, how come that nobody talks about ‘ride-less Tuesday?’ They talk about ‘meatless Monday,’ but not a ‘rides-less Tuesday.’”

Keeping the Carbon Footprint of Livestock in Perspective
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Brian German

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Ag News Director, AgNet West