There’s no major environmental benefit to eating organic meat, a new study suggests.
Meat production, whether it’s organic or not, has a similar cost when it comes to climate damage and total costs, new research from the Technical University of Munich published in the journal Nature Communications suggests.
A new study suggests that farming organic meat is just as harmful to the environment as conventional meat. (iStock).
“We expected organic farming to score better for animal-based products but, for greenhouse gas emissions, it actually doesn’t make much difference,” Maximilian Pieper of the Technical University of Munich, lead study author, said according to The Guardian.
Researchers analyzed greenhouse gas emissions released as a result of farming different foods and calculated the cost needed to make up for the damage done to the climate. The study found conventional and organic production for beef and lamb was relatively the same and that organic chicken was reported to be worse for the climate. Producing organic pork, meanwhile, was slightly better for the environment than nonorganic.
Pieper explained that there are parts of organic farming that are more ideal for the environment since production emits fewer pesticides – which can be harmful to animals – hormones, and fertilizer that help curb pollution. For instance, researchers noted that cultivating organic plant-based produce like fruits and vegetables had less of an impact on the environment than animal products and nonorganic produce.
“The big difference is the simple effect that when you have a field of plants and you eat them directly, then that’s the end of the [emissions], basically,” Pieper said according to The Guardian. “But for beef, for example, you need 42 kilograms of feed to just produce 1 kilogram of beef. This huge inefficiency explains the gap.”