Environmental Hoofprint Matters — Frank Mitloehner, UC Davis

It is being said that livestock production for meat and dairy consumption is a major threat to our Environment. While these claims are based on a wide range of often questionable data, it is leading to anti-animal agriculture calls to eliminate or at least substantially limit meat consumption. Recent Proceedings of the National Academy of Science suggests that blaming animal agriculture for climate change may be misplaced. In the middle of these controversies about climate change and livestock production for protein consumption is Dr.Frank Mitloehner, a Professor and Air Quality Specialist in the Department of Animal Sciences at UC Davis. He traces much of the public confusion over meat and milk’s role in climate change to mistakes in a 10-year old United Nations report, titled “Livestock’s Long Shadow.” The language was immediately challenged and corrected by the authors, but the original language still lives on line. Since over 70% of the world’s agricultural land is marginal and cannot be used for growing crops, the UN says that the only way to feed the world is through “sustainable intensification”. That means intensifying production systems throughout the world so that we satisfy the global demand for animal protein without depleting our natural resources. Dr. Mitloehner believes “If you improve efficiency in whatever food production system, then you reduce the environmental foot print” (or hoof print). Questions arising from points raised in this podcast can go directly to fmmitloehner@ucdavis.edu .