Food Bubble: What's the deal with meat and the environment?


Is livestock production bad for the environment?

If Jude Capper could give that question a black and white answer, she’d say no, but with training in academia, she has caveats.

Capper is a livestock sustainability consultant in the United Kingdom, and says the conversation around the impact of livestock on the environment, and plant-based diets is growing.

“If anything, they’re getting a little bit more intense, because it’s moved from a conversation just with a policymaker, or retailer, or farmer, to one where we’ve got the average person thinking about these things…”

But, says Capper, everything we eat can be considered good or bad for the environment, depending on how it’s assessed.

“I think what’s really important, and what often gets missed, is that every single food we eat has some environmental impact.”

The discussion around what to eat only becomes more complicated when dietary needs and restrictions are taken into consideration. While we may make a move towards something we perceive as more environmentally friendly, we’re often just trading one issue for another.

“So we may cut our carbon footprint, but increase our water footprint, or we may cut ‘metric x’, but we increase ‘metric y’.”

In this episode of Food Bubble, with host Andrew Campbell, Capper looks at a few of her caveats, covering questions around the real impact of livestock production, whether or not it matters where meat and milk come from, and what can be done to make food production more sustainable.

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