Statistics need questions

Regarding your article “Food for vegans is subsidised by cattle farmers like me” (see August issue).

Farming is probably one of the most subsidised industries in the EU, making the farmer’s complaint somewhat ironic.

He states that the number of cattle has decreased. However, beef consumption has increased in the same period by 40%.

This implies cattle are either slaughtered at a younger age because they gain weight more quickly, or they are slaughtered at the same age but are much heavier than in the past.

His observation that there are “a billion more cars on the road” sounds a bit high, given that the worldwide number of cars on the road only passed a billion for the first time in 2010. It must also be mentioned how much environmentally cleaner cars are today.

The US Environmental Protection Agency states that 24% of 2010 greenhouse gas emissions came from the agricultural sector and 14% from transport.

I think that probably understates the transport figure, as the manufacture of cars appears to be included in industrial emissions, not transportation.

A recent study done at the University of Oxford found that going vegan is the single biggest way for an individual to reduce one’s impact on Earth.

Brian Ross, Haute-Vienne

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