Beef Tax Ahead? UK Government Announces a Major Climate Change Review of British Food Production

Skirt Steak at Martiniburger in Tokyo, Japan, Modified. Original by Eliot Bergman (Martiniburger) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

The UK government wants academics, industry and the public to provide evidence to a major inquiry into British food, whose mandate appears to have a strong emphasis on considering the climate impacts of current means of food production.

Press release
Public to have their say on the food system of the future

British shoppers will be able to buy environmentally friendly, healthy and affordable food under plans for a radical shake-up of the UK’s food industry.

Published 17 August 2019
From: Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs and The Rt Hon Theresa Villiers

British shoppers will be able to buy environmentally friendly, healthy and affordable food under plans for a radical shake-up of the UK’s food industry.

As one of the first steps, the government is today launching a call for evidence, giving everyone from consumers, farmers and food producers, to scientists and academics, an opportunity to shape how we produce, sell and consume food in the UK.

Their views will inform the first major review of the nation’s food system in nearly 75 years, led by entrepreneur Henry Dimbleby, to ensure the food industry is fit for the future, supports growth, enhances the environment and is resilient to the challenges posed by climate change.

The review will look at what is working well already and the role of new technology to revolutionise our food supply – from innovations like vertical farming and robotics, to carbon neutral manufacturing and crops that tackle climate change. No idea is too big or small to be considered.

Environment Secretary Theresa Villiers said:

As well as keeping us alive and healthy, food plays a central role in our culture and our national life. The threats from climate change, loss of biodiversity and the need to deliver safe and affordable food gives rise to new challenges we must address.

As we leave the EU and seek to capitalise on the opportunities this can provide for the UK’s farmers and food producers, we have the chance to reshape our food system from farm to fork to ensure it is ready to deal with these 21st century pressures.

So I am delighted to launch this call for evidence to build on the excellent work Henry Dimbleby has already done on this important review. We should not underplay the importance of the food we eat for our environment, our health and our society, and I encourage people to share their views on the way ahead.

Independent Review Lead Henry Dimbleby said:

We’re launching the call for evidence today to gather insights and inspiration to help transform our food system.

These could be policies or ideas that make it easier for us to make more informed decisions about the food we eat; that make food production more environmentally sustainable; that help food businesses and communities to thrive; or that could put our country at the forefront of innovation in the coming years.

Whether you are someone who works in a food business, a farmer, a food processor, an interested citizen – whoever you are – we want to hear from you. We can’t wait to read your submissions and hear about your ideas.

Prue Leith CBE restaurateur, food writer, cookery campaigner and broadcaster said:

For too long we have tinkered with food and food education. But we really need to grasp the nettle and do something radical. The National Food Strategy is an opportunity not to be missed, for our generation and for our children and grandchildren.

Through this Strategy we have the opportunity to improve the nation’s health and embrace sustainability and I urge everyone to engage with it.
Ian Wright CBE, Chief Executive Food and Drink Federation said:

Today’s announcement signals the serious commitment from government to the first independent review of the food and drink sector in over 70 years. We are absolutely delighted that Defra will be leading this work, with the Food and Drink Sector Council playing a leading role in shaping the strategy as it develops.

Food and drink is part of our critical national infrastructure. The National Food Strategy will ensure that UK food and drink remains a vital national asset, and continues to be one of the UK’s biggest success stories.

FDF will be submitting evidence, and we would encourage everyone up and down the food and drink supply chain to do the same.

Minette Batters, National Farming Union President said:

British food is amongst the best, safest and most affordable in the world and UK farming plays a crucial role in providing the raw ingredients that form the backbone of our country’s food system. It’s time we took pride and interest in our food industry, which is worth over £120 billion to the national economy and employs 4 million people.

The NFU is pleased to work with Henry Dimbleby to continue the development of a food system that delivers high quality, safe and affordable food for all.

Professor Judy Buttriss, Director General of British Nutrition Foundation said:

The Call for Evidence to help develop Defra’s National Food Strategy provides an opportunity to shape a strategy that looks at food, nutrition and the environment in the round, through multiple lenses. The opportunity should not be missed.

Good nutrition is as much about eating more of some things as it is about cutting back on others. The integrated message of variety, balance and nutrient density – making every calorie count – needs to be reflected in food production right through to what we teach children in school.

Kath Dalmeny, Chief Executive of Sustain said:

We need a food system that can reliably provide us with good, health-promoting food, now and for generations to come. This means averting dangerous climate change and restoring the natural systems on which we all depend for our food, water and clean air.

The whole system must also support decent livelihoods in farming and fishing, in perpetuity. These are tall orders, but it is the great task of our generation to tackle these fundamental issues that will underpin our ability to sustain human life and pursue social progress. We look forward to the National Food Strategy spearheading transformative action to create the social, economic, policy and legislative conditions for better food, farming and fishing to thrive and accelerate into the mainstream.

Iain Ferguson, Industry Co-Chair of the Food and Drink Sector Council said:

The National Food Strategy offers a once in a generation opportunity. We encourage everyone in the industry to contribute their ideas to help create the sustainable food system of the future. The Food and Drink Sector Council will give Henry Dimbleby and the review its full support.
Together these findings will inform the Government’s trailblazing new National Food Strategy, published next year.


Last month WUWT reported British MP Michael Gove’s demand for an end to affordable food.

At the time I hoped Gove’s comments about how everyone needs less meat and more organic vegetables were just empty political rhetoric, but now it looks like Gove’s ideas have gathered momentum, perhaps attracted the attention of Britain’s new Prime Minister, and may be well on the way to becoming official British government policy.

The impact this initiative will have on the quality of life of ordinary British people is anyone’s guess. But a broad ranging review with such an obvious emphasis on considering climate impacts instead of say just making sure people get enough to eat is unlikely to deliver a good outcome.

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Dave Fair
August 17, 2019 6:41 pm

The Leftists/Progressives always push things too far. Making food more expensive is a political loser.

Michael S. Kelly LS, BSA Ret.
Reply to  Dave Fair
August 17, 2019 9:32 pm

The article stopped being believable at this point: “British food is amongst the best… in the world…”

They were clearly talking about some other world than this one.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Michael S. Kelly LS, BSA Ret.
August 17, 2019 9:35 pm

Michael, that sort of statement is mandatory for politicians trying to show their patriotism. Every thinking person knows it if fluff.

Writing Observer
Reply to  Michael S. Kelly LS, BSA Ret.
August 17, 2019 10:47 pm


When the wife and I did a fair amount of cross-country driving in our younger days, when our stomachs said it was closing in on meal time – we’d get off the interstate and take whatever country road was there out into the “boonies” and stop wherever there were a lot of cars. Some of the best food I’ve ever eaten.

I have the feeling that food in the Islands might follow much the same pattern. Get out of London, Birmingham, Manchester, etc. and find the village pubs.

Reply to  Writing Observer
August 17, 2019 11:59 pm

Writing Observer

Pubs? What are those?

They are shutting down faster than Starbucks can build new coffee shops thanks to a government war on booze.

Reply to  HotScot
August 18, 2019 12:28 am

Yep ! but do we country folk really want the Deep city fowk coming into our patch? we suffer the towrists for a while. witness Isle of Skye wanting to kinda shut down in protest over the excessive traffic and the NC500 having similar problems – an IRISH (!) Bank Autoteller being closed down so that nearest Cashpoint is around 75 road mls away. Harry Potter Fans causing Mayhem near a famous viaduct, etc.
Then with no understanding of rural life, these same critters want to LEGISLATE against anythin WE stand for and do – our traditions ( english welsh irish scottish, etc) …..

Reply to  HotScot
August 18, 2019 2:29 am

Hot Scot

My response to a letter in yesterday UK Daily Telegraph is self explanatory

“The excellent calculations by Chris Hargraves (Telegraph letters 17th August) Did however miss one crucial level.

Only 5% of Co2 emissions come from man, the rest is natural, so if we can amend his list as follows;

Britain’s share of the words Co2 emissions is 1.2% of this 5% . Of this, Agricultures share is 8.64 per cent of this 1.2% of this 5%. Cattle are responsible for just 2.03% of this 8.64 percent of this 1.2% of this 5% and sheep ….well you get the picture.

That Britain’s Co2 output is irrelevant to the world climate can be seen in data provided by New Scientist, that if the UK achieved net zero Co2 emissions by 2050 it would provide three hundredths of a degree reduction in global temperature compared to 2020. Theresa May pledged 1 trillion pounds to achieve a result that is not measurable. Truly climate hysteria has set in.”

I suggest the new chants by XR should be;

“What do we want?
3 hundredths of a degree reduction in temperature for 1 trillion pounds
When do we want it?
By 2050”

Alan the Brit
Reply to  HotScot
August 18, 2019 9:27 am

That’s booze for the plebs, NOT forthe elite ruling classes of course!

Lachaln Flawse
Reply to  HotScot
August 18, 2019 9:50 pm

In addition to your worthwhile tabling of the percentages involved there is a more fundamental cycle going on.
Cattle and sheep do not create Carbon atoms. A cow eats one Carbon atom from pasture ( – normally a part of complex sugars and proteins). Leaving aside the Carbon atoms that end up as part of the animal’s body, and the Carbon redeposited on the pasture as waste, the animal then, simplistically, breathes out one Carbon atom as CO2 (we’ll deal with the methane question) into the atmosphere. The pasture then reabsorbs the one Carbon atom in the CO2. So, if the number of ruminants is constant then there is zero net effect on the CO2 in the atmosphere anyway.
Re Methane, it is a very different gas to CO2 with a much higher enthalpy. We could demonstrate this by getting a few of the liars from the CAGW camp and get them to stand beside a tanker of Methane, open the valves and light it up. We contrarians will stand beside a CO2 tanker and try to light it. The essential point is that Methane is a terribly unstable gas and does NOT accumulate in the atmosphere. The IPCC original claim was that Methane lasted in the atmosphere for 12 years! Now they gradually reduced that estimate to three years and still counting. (And they reckon their models are spot on to the fraction of a degree) Methane in the atmosphere is quickly converted to CO2 and H20 and the plant cycle again comes into play. In essence the level of Methane contributed by ruminant animals remains constant as long as the number of animals is constant. It does NOT contribute to the supposed global warming INCREASE in temperatures.
All this of course leaves out the other dodgy assumptions made in estimating the effect of ruminant animals – like the fact the IPCC conveniently ignore the base level of Methane that is produced by all rotting vegetation. But who cares about facts and accuracy?

Reply to  Lachaln Flawse
August 19, 2019 4:31 am
Michael Keal
Reply to  HotScot
August 19, 2019 1:17 pm

First they came for our cigarettes, then for our plastic bags, then it was for our fish ‘n chips, next it was our pubs, now it’s our roast beef …

Reply to  Michael S. Kelly LS, BSA Ret.
August 18, 2019 1:36 am

Actually, British food IS some of the best in the world.

Reply to  Mardler
August 18, 2019 6:57 am

If you can afford it.

Reply to  Michael S. Kelly LS, BSA Ret.
August 18, 2019 2:23 am

Michale Gove and others have confessed to taking cocaine in the past. My guess is they are still doing it but have massively upped the dose.

Reply to  Michael S. Kelly LS, BSA Ret.
August 18, 2019 2:24 am


British food is produced to the highest standards which far exceeds those of most EU countries and America..

Would you like to substantiate your comments


Reply to  tonyb
August 18, 2019 7:05 am

But you don’t need government to achieve that. No farmer would want to kill its clients. It is bad for business.

Reply to  Michael S. Kelly LS, BSA Ret.
August 18, 2019 2:49 am

Nothing up with the food it is the cooking that needs improvement

Reply to  fatherup
August 18, 2019 7:13 am

And the weather. We are just back from a very wet and cold 3 week holiday in Scotland, Ireland, Wales, England, and the North of France. 11,000 km of wet with some sunny moments.
My wife already told me that next year it will be the south of Italy.

Reply to  Michael S. Kelly LS, BSA Ret.
August 18, 2019 7:20 am
David Cage
Reply to  Michael S. Kelly LS, BSA Ret.
August 18, 2019 9:52 pm

Not true. We actually have some of the very best and the very worst in the world. If you go to parts of Wales and Hertfordshire you can get really high quality simple food that beats anything you can get in London at any price. Go to pretty well any pizza chain in the UK for some of the worst and pay around £20 for a glorified toastie.

Reply to  Dave Fair
August 18, 2019 12:22 am

‘Making food more expensive is a political loser.’ Noooooh! Can I just suggest the recent great publicity within the EU about our “food Banks” has fallen in great favour with our Left wing politics to clout the Tories……
Similarly we had Gordie Broon tax Cement & Quarried products at sourcewhich added greatly to the costs of Quality of life:Any Gravel chipsfor a driveway (Simple) or added cement & Sand to make a Concrete driveway / work area and of course Concrete Blocks for house building greatly increased in cost.
Then the Foot ‘n Mooth of the Early 2000’s, where suddenly and miraculously it sprouted legs ALL OVER the country almost overnight generated a control system regulating the Movement of Livestock Register.
So Now if Beef( Meat ) were to be taxed, it wold probably a source ( the Farmer who Breeds the stock pays up a Birth) OR at the Abattoir … what will all this lead to?

Reply to  Saighdear
August 18, 2019 5:59 pm

A National Food Strategy? I predict that the only outcome will be hungry people dissatisfied with what government dictates the farmers and importers may offer them to consume.

Reply to  Dave Fair
August 19, 2019 6:24 am

Follow the money.
This is a tax.
Such a move in the US would force the poor to eat more junk, making healthy choice less likely.
Our west and Great Plains are most suited for growing grass and they need grass eaters to be ecologically healthy. Replacing the grass with grain was attempted before and ended with the dust bowl. There is not enough fresh water on earth to replace the grass with grains. Beyond the ecological disaster, there would be a net loss to the food supply.

August 17, 2019 6:49 pm

Michael Gove is a dangerous deluded swivel-eyed Loon.

Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
August 17, 2019 7:58 pm

Those are his good points. Anything negative to say about him?
There’s more than one way to reduce the Earth’s population by 90%, although starvation would go a long way towards that goal. Personally, I think the better option is to starve government of tax revenue.

Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
August 17, 2019 7:58 pm

Those are his good points. Anything negative to say about him?
There’s more than one way to reduce the Earth’s population by 90%, although starvation would go a long way towards that goal. Personally, I think the better option is to starve government of tax revenue.

Reply to  H.R.
August 18, 2019 7:21 am

Governments are just puppets manipulated by those who have the real power. The money changers of the temple.
That’s why changing government doesn’t change a thing. Just look how they are trying to kill Brexit.

J Mac
August 17, 2019 6:52 pm

RE: “But we really need to grasp the nettle and do something radical. ”
Thanks! I’ll have the fish n chips, with 2 lagers please. You can have the nettles, Theresa Villiers.

Reply to  J Mac
August 17, 2019 7:14 pm

I’m pretty sure cows eat nettles and magically turn them into delicious, high protein food.

Mike McMillan
Reply to  J Mac
August 18, 2019 10:00 am

Actually, British nettles are some of the best in the world.

August 17, 2019 6:52 pm

Less fat! Less protein! More carbs!

More obesity! More diabetes!

They really want to kill us all.

Reply to  MarkG
August 18, 2019 7:26 am

Yes but not too fast so Big Pharma can suck us dry first.

Dan Cody
Reply to  Robertvd
August 18, 2019 10:14 am

How many brewers does it take to change a light bulb?
About one third-less than for a regular bulb.

August 17, 2019 6:55 pm

Oh Yeah!
In the financial markets there is an old saying about borrowing and spending your way to prosperity.
The stock symbol is TSLA.
And now, by eating the right items on a limited menu, you can make sure that the temperature of the nearest planet is at the “perfect” setting. Plus or minus 1/2 a degree K.
And then there is another bit of folklore:
“I drank myself sober.”

Bob Cherba
August 17, 2019 7:00 pm

So, the government wants to develop a food strategy . . . What could go wrong? (Seems to me the Soviet Union had a food strategy in the 1930s. Only starved about 10 million.)

Rhys Jaggar
Reply to  Bob Cherba
August 18, 2019 3:07 am

Look at Putin’s Russia. They appear to have a plan which is basically ‘feed ourselves and export surpluses’.

Putin is anything but Communist. He presides over a low tax economy, offers free land to anyone wishing to farm in the Far East and has chosen the niche of non-GMO champion.

He is behaving exactly as a private sector CEO would. Big picture targets, not micro-management.

But of course he is evil because he is an elected politician, not someone only selected by shareholders.

All the insulting comments here betray a US wishing to impose its own farming standards on the UK.

Free trade means freedom to choose, which unfortunately does include choosing different paths to the US.

John Dilks
Reply to  Rhys Jaggar
August 19, 2019 9:45 am

Rhys Jaggar,
“All the insulting comments here betray a US wishing to impose its own farming standards on the UK.

Free trade means freedom to choose, which unfortunately does include choosing different paths to the US.”

As an American, I can assure you that we don’t care what you do about your food. If you wish to commit suicide, that’s on you. We will be here if you need us.

Reply to  Bob Cherba
August 18, 2019 3:12 am

DEFRA is an utter laugh and the manufacturers are already working on ways to make money with green claims
if they want healthy and affordable then local supply for meats and grow your own fruit n veg.
if its in a packet or can its not going to be “good” but it will fill your stomach
hence the other theory on the obesity as calorie rich nutritionally poor food leading to overeating.
and then of course there will be a HUGE outcry from all the obese people , screaming that this and any other dietary advice is “fatshaming them”
their mirror does that already;-)))

Reply to  Bob Cherba
August 18, 2019 8:30 am

Yes the Soviets provided a good example of how more government control reduces farming efficiencies.

John Sandhofner
August 17, 2019 7:05 pm

The key word is affordable. Anything government gets involved with only increases the cost.

Greg Cavanagh
Reply to  John Sandhofner
August 18, 2019 2:29 am

But if they write a law to say it is, then it is… right?

The world desperately needs more sensibility. I don’t know where it all went to?

Wiliam Haas
August 17, 2019 7:08 pm

The reality is that the climate change we have been experiencing is caused by the sun and the oceans over which mankind has no control. Anything that the UK might do will have no effect on climate.

Reply to  Wiliam Haas
August 17, 2019 8:37 pm

It used to be, when I was growing up there in England, that you only had to talk in a posh voice to make the mustn’t grumblers think you were “elite”. Now you also have to say monumentally stupid shit in a posh voice. Not much has changed really.

August 17, 2019 7:09 pm

The anti-cow thing is nutty.

Cows turn land that can’t be farmed and has NO OTHER USE TO HUMANS, into food. Same goes with goat and sheep.

These anti-cow people are the same people that told us 20 years ago we should use farm land to “grow fuel”.

Reply to  UNGN
August 17, 2019 9:26 pm

I agree with you UNGN 100%.
This anti farmed animal has been pushed by activists like Greenpeace and was then picked up by the United Nations .
They first introduced this at the Kyoto meeting and stupid politicians went along with it .
Figures are quoted about the water that is required to raise beef and it would only apply if the animals were being raised in a desert .
In both of the disastrous fires in New Zealand recently both areas were not farmed properly with far to much dead grass and scrub for the fire to spread through into pine plantations and dry gorse.
With proper rotational grazing the pasture does not die off and dry up to fuel fires.
As for calling for more organic production the world has moved on and wide spread famines would occur if it was not for the use of artificial nitrogen fertiliser .
People like this woman should be taken to task as if what she is suggesting was carried out on a large scale millions would die of starvation around the world.
Now coming to the real rort that has been adopted and accepted as fact by so many politicians and scientists that should know better and that is methane from farmed animals .
Methane from livestock is not a problem as it is cyclic and all the methane emitted is broken down into CO2 and H2O in between 6 and 12 years and the cycle continues as the CO2 and water grows more forage.
How did methane from livestock ever get put into the same category as coal, oil and gas and limestone for cement manufacture that has been locked up beneath the ground for millions of years .
We then look at the levels of methane in the atmosphere which is 1900 parts per billion .
Between 1999 and 2008 methane levels plateaued and then have risen by 100 billionths in the last ten years .
At this rate it will take 100 to 200 years for the methane levels to rise one part per million.
I want you to know is that it is estimated that farmed animals emit 90 GT { billion tonnes ] per year and energy production and use emits 110 GT per year .
A large proportion of the energy emissions are fugitive emissions which escape from coal mines and oil
and gas fields pipelines and pumping stations .
With a very small reduction of these fugitive emissions methane levels would stabilize and then start to fall .
If the politicians really believed that fossil fuels are causing warming and that some how livestock are contributing surely they should take step to bring fugitive methane emission under control and leave farmed live stock alone .
The last fact is that as methane from livestock are cyclic over a 50 year period if the half life of methane in the atmosphere is 7 years the same atoms of carbon will be counted 7 times against the emissions from oil gas and coal which can only be counted once .
Blatantly unfair as in reality they add no more carbon atoms to the atmosphere over any time span .
I would welcome any fact based criticism .
Graham .

Reply to  Gwan
August 18, 2019 9:51 am

If fossil fuels are a problem stop constructing roundabouts.

Reply to  Gwan
August 18, 2019 9:57 pm

Gwan agree entirely
As per my post above, IPCC after holding for years that the lifecycle of CH4 is 12 years, not too long ago they admitted it was only 5 years and it now appears the more likely figure is three years.
I’m not criticising your numbers – they just point to the total lack of credibility of the IPCC in claiming all their models are precise predictors. Models of gross uncertainty are themselves , by definition, total bovine waste.

Greg Freemyer
Reply to  LFlawse
August 19, 2019 6:18 am

Do you have a link to the research about a shorter lifetime for atmospheric methane?

When it comes to beef, methane lifetime is 2/3rds or more of the claimed GHG impact. Cutting it in half would have a drastic effect on lifetime carbon assessments tied to cattle.

Izaak Walton
Reply to  UNGN
August 17, 2019 10:54 pm

That is just not true. Currently 27% of agricultural crops (mainly soy) are feed to animals to
produce meat and dairy. Cows are probably the worst of all animals in terms of their ability to
turn food into meat. Chickens are much better. Which is why beef has always been high status
food and chicken the food for the poor.

Dan Cody
Reply to  Izaak Walton
August 17, 2019 11:11 pm

A guy walks into a restaurant and asks,’How do you prepare your chickens?’
The cook says,’Nothing.We just tell them they’re gonna die’.

Reply to  Dan Cody
August 18, 2019 10:44 am

the swedish chef chicken in the basket

Reply to  Izaak Walton
August 18, 2019 1:49 am

Izaak Walton.
Buy New Zealand beef and lamb all grass fed.
Our milk is mainly grass fed with some high input farms using feed not grown on the farm .
The high input feed lot European and US dairy and beef producers use a lot of feed sourced off farm .
Just remember that all farmers farm to make a profit and they supply what you the end user wants .

Izaak Walton
Reply to  Gwan
August 18, 2019 2:20 am

I completely agree about NZ beef. It is easily among the best I have ever tried. Most of it is outdoor raised all year round and feed grass. But that was not the point of the original comment. Much of the land used for beef farming in NZ could be used to grow crops (sheep farming is different since it uses higher and steeper lands unsuitable for other crops). Which is contrary to what UNGN claimed.

Reply to  Izaak Walton
August 18, 2019 9:58 am

A farming state like Nebraska also has lots of cattle. The sandhills of Nebraska are sand dunes that got semi-consistent rain over the last 4,000-8,000 years and grass grew on them. There are few “farms” in the these areas of dunes, but there are millions of cows… just like there were millions of bison there 200 years ago.

Cows are fed crops in the US because crops are cheap, plentiful and people have come to like the taste of of crop fed beef. That doesn’t make it a requirement.

Very few “cattle ranches” in the US could be successfully farmed at a profit. I can’t think of any. Farming is hard enough as it is to then try to do it on crap land.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Izaak Walton
August 18, 2019 9:19 pm

Most of the best quality meat is sold offshore. Local meats not so good, but better than many others.

Reply to  Gwan
August 18, 2019 10:03 am

North American cattle are mostly grass fed as well. The feedlots are short term and used for finishing to produce a more palatable product. The feed used in feedlots is usually rough grains with straw as roughage. It can be corn, barley, or poor grade wheat that is unsuitable for human consumption.
Animals are one way to store food on the hoof. They can be held for a limited time until the demand is good enough to command a better price.
Most of the world could not produce a wide enough variety of plants to provide for a healthy human existence. Without the availability of cheap international transportation animals are an essential local food source.
Finally, animal feed is not sourced off farm. It may come from a neighboring farm or even from some distance but the original source is always a farm, plantation or ranch.

Reply to  Rick
August 18, 2019 11:35 am

Actually, all beef cattle start out on pasture after weaning. They go to feedlots at ~8-900 lb and then put on feed to more rapidly get them up to slaughter weight. Feedlots weren’t in general use in the US until the mid-’60s. ….Grass finished beef can be shown in the lab to have statistically significant “better” chemical profiles in terms of chol, CLA & triglycerides ratios, etc, but it’s small & clinically insignificant compared to feedlot beef….It could be better for the environment if land now in row crops to produce cattle feed were returned to pasture for grazing, but the profit margins are so low for producers that the risk/benefit ratio of the endeavor would become prohibitive.

Beef may be the most efficient way to provide human nutrition. A single serving (8oz) provides 60gm complete protein, only 500 cal and ~half of our RDA of most vits & mins….To get 60 protein from a combo of rice, beans & corn, you would need to take in over 3000cal and still be way short of RDA of most vits & mins…The USDA recommends 9 servings of fruit & veggies/d because each serving rarely provides more than 10% of the RDA of most vits & mins.

Reply to  Izaak Walton
August 18, 2019 8:42 am

How did dairy get lumped into meat production and consumption. It is definitely different from free range cattle, goats, sheep, buffalo, bison, deer, elk, etc.,etc..

Greg Freemyer
Reply to  Rick
August 19, 2019 6:22 am

The biggest GHG impact of cattle is from burbs, farts, and manure.

Beef cattle and dairy cattle all do that.

Reply to  UNGN
August 18, 2019 2:32 am


Good grief what is the matter with you? Get with the programme. Surely getting rid of food is a small price to pay as long as we can get rid of the dreaded CO2

Reply to  tonyb
August 18, 2019 10:36 am

Believers don’t eat?

Reply to  UNGN
August 18, 2019 12:29 pm

About 10 years ago the UN finished up a climate/food project in Africa. People were starving, their land was poor with rocks, little forage, low yields, costly fertilizer, as a result of the previous program sponsored by fertilizer companies.

A seasoned Ag scientist spent a year with the folks. At the end he convinced them to try a crop rotation program with minimal fertilization- only on crops such as beans. They melded their plots together, informally, started up a local, elected AG committee to supervise. The fields were split into 4 much larger fields- one fallow, one grazing cattle, one for a protein crop, and one for a cereal crop. Every year the fields were rotated to get the animals in turn.

Within 3 years all the fields were fertile and more productive. They were producing about twice as much a previously and started selling through the AG co-op.

Marvelous! Crop Rotation. It’s only been know for years. The Ag scientist had been able to get a grant to study the Serengheti plain, with all it’s wildlife. He showed that the circular migration of the animals and their predators stirred up the dirt more effectively than plows and had formed a soft, water-storing soil that mitigated droughts in increased productivity.

This was enough to convince the UN that this magical formula warranted backing. It was much more ground breaking than simply optimizing crop rotation. It had to be backed by a big, political organization to be viable.

Robert W. Turner
August 17, 2019 7:11 pm

Sane citizen: But it’s not broken.
British government: Hold my tea and watch this.

August 17, 2019 7:15 pm

People are beginning to take exception to the demanding anti carbon front because 1. It impacts them directly more than a little 2. The demands are without merit. Wait until the demands turn into laws and see how the shit hits the fan.

Martin Howard Keith Brumby
August 17, 2019 7:17 pm

Well, governments do have a brilliant record at picking winners.

I am absolutely on the edge of my seat waiting to see the results of this latest display of their wisdom.

Just the ticket. Take some aspect of part of British life which actually works pretty well (despite all the regulations they have dreamed up over the last 50 years) and have a bunch of self appointed control freak busy-bodies and crony ‘entrepreneurs ‘ fool about with it on the taxpayer’s £££s.

What could go wrong?

Dave Fair
Reply to  Martin Howard Keith Brumby
August 17, 2019 7:30 pm

You British on this site should keep asking how much the future warming the UN IPCC climate models’ are projecting will be reduced by these schemes. How much will it actually cost? Will it affect China, India and African CO2 production? Is it just virtue signalling by the ruling class?

Reply to  Dave Fair
August 17, 2019 8:44 pm

To be Fair Dave, I think the Brits on this site already know. I’d like to think they could do it by providing free calculators to politicians and the other assorted scientific morons who pontificate about the non-existent climate crisis and its solution. Silver crosses to vampires though ……

Dave Fair
Reply to  philincalifornia
August 17, 2019 9:10 pm

“To be Fair Dave …” Too cute, Phil.

michael hart
Reply to  Dave Fair
August 17, 2019 9:20 pm

We do ask those sort of questions all the time Dave but few people in positions of power show much sign of listening.

They really need to eliminate all job positions in government administration that has anything to do with the climate twaddle and redeploy them to making Brexit work. There may be painful times ahead for the nation. The EU bureaucrats certainly intend to try and punish the UK as much as possible, both for revenge and to set an example to other awkward countries in the EU.

We may need all hands on deck, not wasting resources trying to regulate what the nation is allowed to eat. The nation has never voted for all this green crap and I’m guessing will not take kindly to such schemes if times get hard post-Brexit.

Dave Fair
Reply to  michael hart
August 17, 2019 9:25 pm

But the clowns are asking for all citizens’ public input. Enough skeptical public input might have some impact. Who knows, but it is an opening.

Phillip Bratby
Reply to  Dave Fair
August 17, 2019 11:21 pm

The experience of public consultations is that sensible comments by “ordinary” people are ignored, because the elites already know what is best. Consultations in the UK are just box-ticking exercises.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Phillip Bratby
August 17, 2019 11:48 pm

Its always fun to watch governmental discussions where the outcome is predetermined.

Rod Evans
Reply to  Dave Fair
August 18, 2019 12:16 am

Dave, 17.4 million expressions of public opinion has no impact whatever on the UK establishment. They are still determined to do what they want to do and continue to ignore what the people want to do….
Its a socialist thing headed up by the likes of Blair, Soros, Clarke and the Greens.

Reply to  Dave Fair
August 18, 2019 3:29 am

average john in UK wont bother
the warmists greentards sure will respond via ex reb peta and greep*ss campaigns to gain their own agendas however.

Reply to  ozspeaksup
August 18, 2019 4:09 am

What is going on in the UK, seems like a strain of dementia has invaded the powers that be, they get more ridiculous every day.

Dave Fair
Reply to  michael hart
August 17, 2019 9:26 pm

Also, Michael, people vote their wallets, not virtue signaling.

R Taylor
August 17, 2019 7:32 pm

Mr. Bumble was right after all.

Larry Hamlin
August 17, 2019 7:44 pm

More climate idiocy coming.

August 17, 2019 7:46 pm

No, no. Central planning by busybodies always works great. Relax and don’t worry. Our betters are in charge and we should all be grateful. The future is going to be great! (Do I need to add the sarc tag?)

CD in Wisconsin
August 17, 2019 7:48 pm

The UK govt is already started screwing up the country’s electricity grid judging from the recent blackout. They might as well start screwing up the country’s food production and distribution system too while they are at it.

This “government knows best” mindset might just leave the UK looking somewhat like a Third World country someday.

August 17, 2019 7:52 pm

Wouldn’t this be a job for the Free Market?

Dave Fair
Reply to  Rotor
August 17, 2019 8:49 pm

“Wouldn’t this be a job for the Free Market?” No, Rotor. People might (would) do thing of which we don’t approve. People are so stupid and uninformed that their betters need to structure their lives. U.S. Prohibition is a great example of a successful governmental intervention in free peoples’ lives.

August 17, 2019 8:06 pm

certainly. Adding a tax always makes stuff more affordable….

Greg Cavanagh
Reply to  kenw
August 18, 2019 2:30 am

It’ll be as successful as their power generation from free renewables.

August 17, 2019 8:06 pm

If British government (and any other governments for that matter) want to secure food for future population, they should stop wasting money and effort on useless, wirtue signalling inquiries, and start building greenhouses with fossil fuelled power stations next to them to keep them warm, so they can keep growing food as we are heading for Global Cooling.

August 17, 2019 8:10 pm

They should start by getting rid of farming subsidies to force farmers to be more efficient. According to the Financial Times “Farms grazing livestock rely on subsidies for more than 90 per cent of profits, while the figure is only 10 per cent for fruit farms.” And if they can’t survive with no subsidies they should turn to a different landuse and if necessary import from more efficient producers. That would provide immediate benefits for consumers and taxpayers. New Zealand went through this process in the 1980s and agriculture evolved into a highly productive industry and a major food exporter.

Reply to  krm
August 17, 2019 10:43 pm

Reply to krm,
The Mulldoon government introduced Supplementary Minimum Prices SMPs for lamb beef wool and dairy products in the 1970s .
If prices fell below a certain figure the subsidy made up the difference .
The most money was paid out on lamb and mutton .
The sheep population fell from 70 million ewes to now under 30 million and a large amount of land was converted to dairying which as far as I can recollect never needed SMPs
New Zealand has the lowest greenhouse gas profile on our dairy and meat products of any country in the world .
But our government is trying to restrict our live stock farmers by introducing methane taxes .
It has been pointed out to them that any reduction in production by New Zealand farmers will be replaced by higher emitting producers from other countries .
This does not stop stupid politicians from virtue signalling to the world and the result is more emissions.

Reply to  Gwan
August 18, 2019 3:20 am

ms ardern really DOES need a sock in it!
and a sharp clip behind the ears, and not a bobbypin

August 17, 2019 8:13 pm

“I’m from the Government and I’m here to help.” This is code for we are your oppressors and don’t forget it. Oh and here’s some cockroach cake with writhing maggot filling filling….this is what you will be eating from now on.
When Britain joined the Common Market, they imported mainly Australian beef as it was superior and good value, this is what the English citizens had decided by Democratic choice. They were forced by the unelected commissars of the EU to buy inferior expensive Spanish beef….this is EU code for “Free Trade.”
I think we all know deep down in our hearts what needs to happen to return our freedoms? We used to know how to deal with these people. I’d like to have seen someone tell the Duke he was going to eat maggot cake.

August 17, 2019 8:32 pm

This farce will inevitably be driven by the hair brained activists agenda and the rest of us who have to get on with dealing with their lives will be totally ignored. Our squeaks will be binned upon receipt. The result will be a pigs ear and cause a great deal of anguish.

Obviously our food production industry is in need of improvement; but this should be done incrementally through ongoing communication between the leaders in the industry, the consumers and Government to allow the improvements to evolve in a sensible manner.
Giving credence to these hair brained activists is no way to deal with the problem.

I recall Michael Gove bending his ear to Greta Thunberg not long ago. If that is an indication of how this enquiry will be implemented; Heaven help us.

The first thing to do, at the top of the agenda is to ignore climate change. We have had enough of that nonsense to last a lifetime. What matters is the immediate future with a healthy, stable food industry and responsible management of the environment and waste products.

Tom in Florida
August 17, 2019 8:36 pm

First they take your money.
Then they take your guns.
Then they take your food.

August 17, 2019 8:38 pm

May I say that the only way they will force me off beef is to take my hamburger from my cold, dead hands
(h/t Charlton Heston)

Tom Abbott
August 17, 2019 8:50 pm

It’s not nice to mess with our food. People can get really worked up over things like that.

That was just a warning. I guess we’ll have to wait for the results of this “call for evidence” before we pour on the ridicule.

Now, there’s an idea: Why don’t we request a “call for evidence” from the Alarmists concerning CAGW. Then they can provide us all their evidence showing CAGW is real.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for that to happen, though. It’s not because they will refuse to provide evidence, it is because they don’t have any evidence to provide. So don’t get your hopes up too high.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Tom Abbott
August 17, 2019 9:02 pm

All they have is the UN IPCC climate models. All the rest is hand-waving, pseudo-scientific “papers.”

Make them argue the models, not minor physical evidence of benign warming. And ridicule 1,00-year projections of Antarctic ice sheet melting.

Bloke down the pub
Reply to  Tom Abbott
August 18, 2019 3:22 am

Perhaps this ‘call for evidence’ will give the public the opportunity to demand that meat slaughtered for the halal or kosher market does not enter the mainstream food chain without clear marking, identifying it as such.

Reply to  Tom Abbott
August 18, 2019 3:27 am

what no one else has asked…is who the hell is dimbleby?
I found this
well off young foodie
means well Id say
maybe NOT the best person for the proposed task?

Dan Cody
August 17, 2019 9:05 pm

This is absurd.When the Russian Chernobyl nuclear accident occurred back in the 1980’s,the radiation cloud affected Europe and the food supply.To this day ,there still may be some aftereffects.This is what the U.K. government’s study should be focused on instead of worrying about the phony ‘man-made’ climate change debacle.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Dan Cody
August 17, 2019 9:20 pm

Busybodies just can’t leave a free person alone. “Its for their benefit I do this.”

August 17, 2019 9:07 pm

Sorry, but I have to get 1 or 2 Kilos of i inch slices of Filet Minion every now and then, Here in Mexico – not that expensive now …but who knows, they are banning straws and plastic bags now !!!

Have to raise my own cows I guess… like that is going to happen !!?

Dan Cody
Reply to  Jon P Peterson
August 17, 2019 9:42 pm

This whole subject is udder nonsense.The last time I had a steak,I could see the jockey marks on the side of it.

Reply to  Dan Cody
August 18, 2019 12:04 am

lol … In Mexico ???

Dan Cody
Reply to  Jon P Peterson
August 18, 2019 4:16 am

What did the Mexican fireman name his 2 sons?
Hose ‘A’ and Hose ‘B’

Gary Pearse
August 17, 2019 9:27 pm

I’ve sweated out a couple of years encouraging the Brexit vote, but now I see it was too late. Too many dumbed down citizens addicted to the dole and fearful to be critical of their ‘benefactor’ nanny governments.

I see Brexit as a mistake now. British politicians and robotic constituents were, under a dictatorial EU parliament, at least constrained from what turns out to be an even more idiotic and malignant government. Heck, the Conservatives are the best they’ve got, too! I had hopes for UKIP but the British are too timid for this. “Britannia rule the waves” indeed, “We never never never never will be slaves ” indeed.

How did you so thoroughly and easily lose the independent spirit, innovativeness and boldness that inspired the greatest civilization mankind has ever created and trade it in for the ‘safety’ provided by doofusses like Juncker et al.
When they get you off meat, the “Great” will be a dangerous anachronism that will have to go.

Dan Cody
August 17, 2019 9:30 pm

Two cannibals were sitting by a fire and one says,”Gee,I hate my mother-in-law.”
And the other says,”So,try the potatoes”.

Mark Broderick
August 17, 2019 9:39 pm

“Public to have their say on the food system of the future”
Yea sure, kinda like Brexit ? We’ll just keep on having new votes until we get what we want…


Dan Cody
August 17, 2019 9:40 pm

Waiter: And how did you find your steak,sir?
Diner: Well,I just pushed aside a pea and there it was…

August 17, 2019 10:45 pm

The role of beef in AGW is a recent innovation that corrupted the original theory of AGW

Dan Cody
August 17, 2019 10:58 pm

The Al gore computer virus-causes your computer to keep counting,recounting,recounting…ad nauseam.

The Bill Clinton computer virus-gives you a permanent hard drive,with no memory.

The Bob Dole computer virus-makes a new hard drive out of an old floppy.

The Lewinsky computer virus-sucks all the memory out of your computer,then emails your best friends about what it did.

Reply to  Dan Cody
August 18, 2019 2:44 am

A steady diet of only corn leads to pellagra. Why, it’s nigh a sin.

Rod Evans
August 18, 2019 12:19 am

The most frightening opening statement, it is possible to hear being uttered by a smiling stranger, ” I am from the government, and I am here to help”

August 18, 2019 12:41 am

Henry Dimbleby – “He is the son of veteran BBC broadcaster David Dimbleby.”

Wouldn’t you just know that the Dimbleby dynasty have representation at government level.

Rod Evans
Reply to  HotScot
August 18, 2019 1:16 am

“The long march through the institutions”….continues. The Frankfurt School lives on at the BBC and elsewhere. We mustn’t “beef” about it though…

Reply to  Rod Evans
August 18, 2019 2:46 am

Rod Evans

The BBC takes care of it’s own.

Depressing really.

James Bull
August 18, 2019 1:33 am

I’ll be asking anyone standing in my area Gov elections if they back this lunacy if they say yes I’ll say “you won’t be getting my vote then!” I will be more than happy to tell them why and where this drivel comes from.

James Bull

Eamon Butler
August 18, 2019 1:59 am

Vilifying Beef now, are we? Since when has protein been bad for us? Come to think of it, same goes for CO2.
What underpins all of this nonsense is, the Blackmail of Environmental value and appreciation. Tell us what you want to eat. Dangerous stuff for the planet, or what we tell you is good, wholesome, planet friendly Milk and Honey. Maybe without the milk. And you won’t be able to afford the honey.


NZ Willy
August 18, 2019 4:09 am

Sure it’s all nutty, but people are fatter than ever nowadays — so if you give them less effective food, good intentions notwithstanding, does it really matter? I mean, I want butter on my bread but if everyone else wants canola then they’ll eat as they deserve.

August 18, 2019 4:12 am

If we had some potatoes we could have steak and potatoes, if we had some steak.

The queue for gruel and a moldy crust forms over there.

Dan Cody
Reply to  H.R.
August 18, 2019 4:36 am

Two cannibals were sitting by a fire and one says,”Gee,i hate my mother-in-law.”
And the other says ,’So,try the potatoes.’

August 18, 2019 4:24 am

“But we really need to grasp the nettle and do something radical.”

Now where have we heard that before from these eternally restless revolutionary types? Take your medication along with your nettles and we’ll eat what we damn well please control freaks.

Moderately Cross of East Anglia
August 18, 2019 4:57 am

This all seems on a par with vilifying US chlorinated chicken. Despite the fact that we don’t see millions of Americans dying every week from eating chicken, in the U.K. the green eco-loons go into hysteria at any mention of importing US chicken. Perhaps I’m not getting it, but shouldn’t they be protesting about drinking chlorinated water from our up to now safe water supplies. The greens should set an example by drinking water straight from village ponds and the River Thames. Then I might believe a word they say.
I’ll stick with happily eating beef and chicken, including the US kind if offered, while noting how malnourished and unhealthy most of the vegetarians I see look. Especially their severely underweight and underdeveloped children.

Reply to  Moderately Cross of East Anglia
August 18, 2019 6:01 am

Every time I go to the swimming baths I get chloinated

old white guy
August 18, 2019 5:10 am

memo to all Brits: Be prepared to starve.

August 18, 2019 5:39 am

A carbon free life is, no life for you and me!

August 18, 2019 7:02 am

Some comments back disparaging remarks were made about British food. Now what exactly was meant by that? Not the ingredients surely, because, pork, chicken, beef etc are basically similar the world over, although the range of home -grown vegetables and fruit has to be augmented by imports due to climate factors. So it must have been the cooking that people object to. Well this is what is available as “british” food, here in a small town on the outskirts of Greater Manchester : (and they are all within walking distance so you can take wine or beer with your meal and not fall foul of drink driving rules):
4 Italian restaurants + a very popular Pizza Express
3 Middle Eastern cuisines (Lebanese/Syrian)
3 Indian
French bistro
Several “American” /Smoke house type bars
+ Chinese takeaways, 2 Fish and Chip shops and pubs offering traditional steak -and- ale -pie type food.
So what is “British food”?
Furthermore , our town has had a market for 700 years , but it was moribund when we arrived 30 years ago. Then the council renovated the Market Hall , encouraged food outlets and now it is so popular that you have to get down there by 9.00 am on a Saturday morning if you want to get anywhere near the stalls . This has had a knock on effect on neighbouring shops and apartments. It is the most remarkable change to a town centre that was effectively dying and it was food – led . People now actually queue for fresh fish and vegetables- not seen that since I was a teenager.
Now the Govt wants to stop all that on grounds so ridiculous that there must be another, hidden, reason.
Having lived as a child with food rationing after the War , it seems that the Govt wants to bring back the old Min of Ag and Fish, and the regulated “British Restaurant” with the 5 bob meal . Except it won’t be 5 shillings this time round . It did not kill us, that food rationing , and nutritionally it may have been superior to a modern diet, but you were always hungry, and meat rationing lasted for 10 years after the War that we were supposed to have won.
Gove seems to have forgotten that one of the factors that led to the fall of the Attlee labour Govt in the early 1950s was its obsession with control , rationing and regulation especially wrt food. I doubt if the British character has changed much since then , and the influx of enterprising immigrants from Europe and Asia in particular makes the prospect of food control even less acceptable.

Reply to  mikewaite
August 18, 2019 4:36 pm
Andy in Epsom
August 18, 2019 7:10 am

I do not think this is idiocy at all.a I think all of this is a serious attempt to de-populate the planet.

Roger Welsh
August 18, 2019 9:55 am

When is someone going to explain to “chicken heads” (MPs, Civil Servants) that the sheer arrogance born of ignorance to think that humans can alter climate on a body in space that is 4000,000,000 years old?

Dan Cody
Reply to  Roger Welsh
August 18, 2019 10:18 am

please watch your FOWL language.

August 18, 2019 10:12 am

With all the advancements made over the decades to the current 21st century its a shame common sense hasn’t kept pace. “Scientists Say” is now a replacement for the priests of the old religions.
Even the Pope and all the associated cohorts in the various religious regimes are getting on board the ‘new’ belief, to preach to the flock, assisted by the corrupt MSM.
As soon as the pendulum swings back from lefty Liberal to centre right, hopefully is when ‘common sense’ will be given a chance the flourish once more.

August 18, 2019 12:59 pm

A review in the UK is not a bad idea. Will they get to mad cow disease this time?

August 18, 2019 1:29 pm

I suspect that a Beef Tax will cause many people to rebel against Extinction Rebellion. I’ve noticed that most people are very keen to protect the environment until they are asked to pay for it.

On the outer Barcoo
August 18, 2019 2:27 pm

Rather than impacting food for humans, food for pets should be targeted first.

joe - the non climate scientist
August 18, 2019 2:32 pm

The superior scientific minds over at sekptical science – posted an article and a study to support converting cattle grazing land to farming and forest which would be much more efficient use of the land.

Apparently oblivious to the reason the cattle grazing land was being used for cattle grazing –
Duh because the land isnt suitable for farming or forestry. DUH

August 18, 2019 3:28 pm

On what planet is a carbon free existence even possible?

Derek Colman
August 18, 2019 5:08 pm

Governments have mandated food production methods before based on expert scientific opinion. The result was that millions starved to death.

August 18, 2019 7:29 pm

It’s a racist policy against the native British people – or as the French call us, “roast beef”.

August 19, 2019 5:50 am

What the heck are the “Food and Drink Federation” and the “Food and Drink Sector Council”, and from where do they obtain their funding?

Greg Freemyer
August 19, 2019 11:42 am

Even if one accepts cattle are a major cause AGW, it is CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) that should be taxed.

Grass fed cattle often have a negative GHG footprint. Here’s a LCA for a thought leading regenerative ranch:

Notice the carbon sequestration more than makes up for the methane emissions.

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