[Ed. – The author goes to great care not to insult AOC or her brilliant ideas.]
If cows are such a problem, should we get rid of them?
It’s not that easy, said Robin White, an assistant professor of animal sciences at Virginia Tech.
She was a co-author of a 2017 study that looked at an extreme case — what would happen if all animals were removed from farming. It found that total United States greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by only a modest amount, while nutritional deficiencies would increase.
Other studies of possible agricultural changes “often don’t consider what we currently produce in terms of food in the United States,” Dr. White said. When those studies remove meat, eggs and dairy from the equation, she said, they tend to assume that other foods will be available.
But today’s agricultural system relies on a suite of crops that researchers have spent decades fine-tuning for specific niches. It isn’t clear that the country could easily grow a new set of crops that would make up for the lost nutrition from meat for the entire population. (Many individuals, of course, already opt against eating meat for ethical, religious or other reasons.)