advertisement
Updated 12 August 2013

Which meat harms the planet most?

Lamb, pork, beef, chicken: which meats do the most damage to the environment?

10

Q: I'm not quite ready to give up meat, but I'm trying to cut down. Are there maybe kinds of meat that are less damaging to the environment than other kinds?

A: Yes, some meats are less damaging - though they're all pretty high in carbon emissions. Generally, in order from greatest to least emissions: lamb and beef are by far the most damaging, followed by pork, chicken and fish. Fish that needs to be transported long distances, for example some kinds of farmed salmon, may well be linked to higher emissions. (Read more on sustainable fish choices.) 

Cheese, it should be noted, also has a large carbon footprint, by some estimates higher than pork.

Good broad guidelines for green-minded meat-eaters are thus to eat meat less often and in smaller portions whenever possible (the most recent recommendation is to cut consumption by half), especially lamb and beef, and to buy from local sources. Meat-eaters and ovo-lacto vegetarians alike should also keep their cheese intake modest. 

- Olivia Rose-Innes, EnviroHealth Editor, Health24, December 2012 

Read more on meat-eating and the environment: Make Mondays Meat-Free

More Enviro FAQs

Post a question on the EnviroHealth Forum 

 

 
NEXT ON HEALTH24X
advertisement

Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
10 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Wasting water? »

South Africa is facing a water crisis Water saving tips Water quality report shocks

SEE: How much water do you use per day?

With level 4 water restrictions in Cape Town, residents are urged to use a maximum of 100 litres per person per day. Here’s how quickly it adds up.

Life saving tip! »

SEE: 10 things to keep in your first aid kit 10 first aid myths

Here's why you need a first aid kit in the car

Emergency services are often spread thin, especially when storms and major disasters strike. When travelling on the road, having a well-stocked first aid kit could be a lifesaver.