An editorial in the New Zealand Herald looks at the results of a recent AgResearch study showing that food miles are not a major component in the emissions generated by New Zealand’s production of exportable lamb.
Indeed, the study showed that shipping lamb from New Zealand to Britain made up a smaller proportion of lamb’s emissions profile than the the British shopper’s drive between the supermarket and home.
An excerpt: (read in full here)
“The AgResearch analysis bears out what farmers have long been saying: that food miles are only a small part of the equation and that European and American sheepmeat production techniques have huge energy costs that farming of pasture-fed animals does not incur.
“But the figures tell a darker story: 80 per cent of the carbon emissions are generated before the animals are even trucked out the farm gate.
“In environmental terms, meat-eating is a costly luxury because raising meat consumes massively more energy, soil nutrients and water than growing equivalent protein in vegetable form.”