Claims by QUT researcher Ms Lee-Ann Wilson that red meat is not environmentally friendly are baloney, according to The Nationals Senator Ron Boswell.
“Australians should actually be eating more red meat to reward the tremendous work that Australian red meat producers are doing to reduce carbon emissions,” Senator Boswell said.
“The National Greenhouse Gas Inventory accounting for the KYOTO target May 2009 states that ‘Livestock related emissions have declined by 7.5 per cent (4.9 Mt) between 1990 and 2007’ and this despite a 13.9 percent increase in beef cattle numbers.”
“This means that every time you eat a piece of T-bone steak or a Lamb chop it is produced with on average 7.5% less carbon emissions than one produced in 1990,” Senator Boswell said.
“The decline in greenhouse gas emissions comes in spite of Agriculture not being included in the Labor Government’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) until, at the earliest, 2013.”
“Agriculture is being targeted unfairly by Ms Wilson and it is about time that the red meat emissions myth was laid to rest.”
“In the future, Australian farmers will contribute even more to the environment through land for carbon sinks, improving soil carbon and growing crops for bio-fuels.”
“Despite Agriculture’s environmental credentials, the Rudd Government’s ETS will punish farmers by adding extra costs to agricultural production that our international competitors will not have, making our industries less competitive.”
“The Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) released a major study on the farm impacts of an ETS saying that farm income for the average beef farmer could fall by over 60% at a carbon price of $25 or by as much as 125% at a carbon price of $50 when agriculture becomes part of the ETS”.
“In complete contrast to the research by Ms Wilson, Australians should be eating more red meat to recognise the contribution that the livestock industry is making to emissions reduction.”
“On top of its environmental benefits, the CSIRO analysis of the National Nutrition Survey showed that red meat is a significant source of iron in the Australian diet, contributing 14 per cent of total dietary iron in adults and 52 per cent of the haem iron intake (NHRMRC p.58),” Senator Boswell said.
“Any suggestion that Australians should be eating less red meat is not only baseless, it’s downright unhealthy.”
National Greenhouse Gas Inventory May 2007 - http://www.climatechange.gov.au/inventory/2007/index.html
National Health and Medical Research Council - http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/publications/synopses/_files/n33.pdf