Why Sir Paul McCartney’s Anti-Meat Campaign is Misguided
By Stuart Agnew MEP
UK Independence Party – Eastern Counties
Today, (3rd December) in Brussels, Sir Paul McCartney is launching his anti-meat campaign in the misguided view that this is somehow going to save the planet. His contention is that methane emissions from ruminants will contribute to greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, preventing heat from escaping and leading to Armageddon.
Technically methane is a greenhouse gas that occupies just 0.000002% of our atmosphere. Compare this with water vapour, the major greenhouse gas which is very variable, but might average out at 16% and we can put things in perspective. (Incidentally carbon dioxide, an essential plant food, but vilified as an undesirable pollutant only represents 0.038% of our atmosphere)
Ruminant animals themselves are only minor players in the production of methane. The major contributor to methane across the globe is termite activity, (with rice farming chipping in a share!).
Ruminants are part of the natural world order and it is conceivable that 150 years ago there were more wildebeest, buffalo and deer etc roaming the great plains of Africa and America than there are ruminants in the world today. Nature is a balance and it would seem quite out of character for one of the world’s natural inhabitants to contain the seeds of destruction of the planet.
Tinkering with the numbers of domestic ruminants therefore will not make a measurable difference to methane output, but it will have other effects. If meat consumption is reduced it will need to be replaced by other food which will need land on which to be cultivated. Converting grassland to arable land is in many cases impossible and in most cases will damage the environment, the very same environment that Sir Paul is so desperate to defend. The final irony of his desire for us to stop eating meat is that vegetarians are known to be prone to flatulence, and think what that is going to do to gas emissions!
However, there is a more serious side to his activities in Brussels and it will work as follows. In my few months as an MEP I have been taken aback by the influence of the green lobby in Brussels, which seems far stronger than it is here in the UK. Sir Paul will be taken seriously by a number of individuals, some of whom will be part of C.O.R.E.P.R.A (the maze of 3000 committees that push ideas for new laws up to the European Commission) and they will put pressure on the Commission to legislate in the area of ruminant methane emission reduction. The Commission, always wanting to be seen to be green, will respond by proposing such legislation and it will in time end up in front of the European Parliament’s Agriculture and Rural Development Committee, of which I am a member.
Most of the MEPs on the Committee are completely on message with the whole man made global warming religion and will be in an immediate dilemma as to what to do about this. On the one hand they want to support farmers, but on the other they have to be seen to be green. The result will be a compromise and a member of the committee will become the “rappoteur” to shepherd a new bill through Parliament. He/she will be financially rewarded for doing this and although there will be some political bickering over amendments, a law will ultimately descend on the British livestock producer who will find himself struggling to record the farting output of his animals, but may also face “cross compliance” penalties if he doesn’t do it properly.
I have never been part of the man made global warming religion, which I view as a complete scam and am delighted to see the increase in the numbers of objective scientists who are prepared to pull it to shreds. This view was strongly reinforced with the news recently that the Climate Change Unit at the University of East Anglia have been trying to cover up evidence of global cooling in recent years.
I will therefore have no inhibitions in voting against all proposals to reduce methane emissions from livestock, and will try to get a few other MEPs on my side.