LONDON - Eating less meat could help slow global warming by reducing the number of livestock and thereby decreasing the amount of methane flatulence from the animals, scientists said on Thursday.
A woman buys pork at a farmer's market in Havana, Cuba on Friday, Sep. 7, 2007. [AP]
In a special energy and health series of the medical journal The Lancet, experts said people should eat fewer steaks and hamburgers. Reducing global red meat consumption by 10 percent, they said, would cut the gases emitted by cows, sheep and goats that contribute to global warming.
"We are at a significant tipping point," said Geri Brewster, a nutritionist at Northern Westchester Hospital in New York, who was not connected to the study.
"If people knew that they were threatening the environment by eating more meat, they might think twice before ordering a burger," Brewster said.
Other ways of reducing greenhouse gases from farming practices, like feeding animals higher-quality grains, would only have a limited impact on cutting emissions. Gases from animals destined for dinner plates account for nearly a quarter of all emissions worldwide.
"That leaves reducing demand for meat as the only real option," said Dr. John Powles, a public health expert at Cambridge University, one of the study's authors.