Mar 25, 2010

High fives for factual reporting on beef and the environment. Thanks, Washington Times!

I have a hard time blaming all the world's problems on the evils of misinformed and sensationalized media outlets. The four years I spent getting a degree in journalism makes that kind of disparagement seem a bit hypocritical.

Yes, a lot of reporters get it wrong when it comes to the facts about American agriculture. But they’re only reporting what their sources told them, and it is their job to determine what “news” is. Whether or not you like what their sources told them or how they constructed the story is irrelevant. If you want the story told otherwise, I guess you should have been a journalist, right? OR, I guess you could get your MBA, start a blog, and become your own news source that publishes whatever story you are so inclined to tell. Or you could just make a point to share factual information to everyone and anyone who will listen. But, I digress…

My point is; it’s nice to be able to pat a fellow journalist on the back. The Washington Times recently published an article titled, “Meat, dairy diet not tied to global warming: report finds claims flawed.” Thank you, Ms. Harper, for printing something factually accurate, informative and sensible. Read a couple excerpts from the story:

Forget all that indecorous talk of animal flatulence, cow burps, vegetarianism and global warming. Welcome to Cowgate.
Cows and pigs have gotten a "bum rap," said Frank Mitloehner, an air quality expert at the University of California at Davis who authored the report. He is plenty critical of scientists and vegetarian activists such as Paul McCartney who insist that livestock account for about a fifth of all greenhouse-gas emissions.

Mr. Mitloehner said the claims that livestock are to blame for global warming are both "scientifically inaccurate" and a dangerous distraction from more important issues.

He has traced the problem back to a 2006 United Nations report, "Livestock's Long Shadow." In the report, the damning livestock "emissions" included those of the digestive variety — along with gases produced by growing animal feed and actual meat and milk processing. But the transportation analysis factored in only fossil fuel emissions from cars.

"This lopsided analysis is a classical apples-and-oranges analogy that truly confused the issue," Mr. Mitloehner said.

"The developed world should focus on increasing efficient meat production in developing countries where growing populations need more nutritious food. In developing countries, we should adopt more efficient, Western-style farming practices to make more food with less greenhouse gas production," Mr. Mitloehner said.

Ahhh... how refreshing.

Follow the link to the full story and leave a comment for the author. Let Ms. Harper know you appreciate the article, and politely give the folks who are leaving negative comments some more information about the beef industry and the environment.

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