There are some thinkers out there throwing around the idea of creating a pill or a patch that would make meat-eating a thing of the past.... by inducing nausea. They believe that this would help reduce greenhouse gasses.
Here, let me throw a quote up here:
"Question: One human engineering strategy you mention is a kind of pharmacologically induced meat intolerance. You suggest that humans could be given meat alongside a medication that triggers extreme nausea, which would then cause a long-lasting aversion to meat eating. Why is it that you expect this could have such a dramatic impact on climate change?
Liao: There is a widely cited U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization report that estimates that 18% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions and CO2 equivalents come from livestock farming, which is actually a much higher share than from transportation. More recently it's been suggested that livestock farming accounts for as much as 51% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. And then there are estimates that as much as 9% of human emissions occur as a result of deforestation for the expansion of pastures for livestock. And that doesn't even to take into account the emissions that arise from manure, or from the livestock directly. Since a large portion of these cows and other grazing animals are raised for consumption, it seems obvious that reducing the consumption of these meats could have considerable environmental benefits.
Even a minor 21% to 24% reduction in the consumption of these kinds of meats could result in the same reduction in emissions as the total localization of food production, which would mean reducing "food miles" to zero. And, I think it's important to note that it wouldn't necessarily need to be a pill. We have also toyed around with the idea of a patch that might stimulate the immune system to reject common bovine proteins, which could lead to a similar kind of lasting aversion to meat products."
Buried deep in the USDA is tiny team charged with investigating sustainable, carbon-reducing farm practices (http://www.ars.usda.gov/research/programs/programs.htm?NP_CODE=212). It's called ARS. Here is the description of an interesting study:
"The research team, which included retired ARS scientists John Stuedemann and Stan Wilkinson, varied the number of cattle per acre, and over 12 years they assessed how the soils would respond to four different scenarios: moderate grazing (average of 23 steers for every 10 acres), intensive or heavy grazing (35 steers per 10 acres), no grazing and letting the grass grow, and no grazing but cutting the grass for hay. Under each scenario they looked at the amount of soil compaction that occurred, the amounts of soil organic carbon and nitrogen found in the soils, and the amounts of surface plant residues, which help prevent erosion. . . .
From an environmental standpoint, grazing has traditionally been viewed as less desirable than leaving the land unused. But the results, published in the Soil Science Society of America Journal, demonstrate that if growers manage cattle so that pastures are grazed moderately, they’re restoring soil quality and cutting greenhouse gases by keeping carbon in the soil as organic matter rather than releasing it into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide."
Upshot: Managed grazing improves the ability of the soil to hold carbon and helps slow global warming. "Cattle Pastures May Improve Soil Quality" was published in the March 2011 issue of Agricultural Research magazine (http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/mar11/soil0311.htm).
I smell government! You mean they want to force us to eliminate our meat (and by extension, fat) consumption so we have no choice but to have to suck down GMO crops and laboratory food?
But on a more serious note...how about a pill that induces nausea whenever someone eats SAD food?
Makes as much sense as removing superfluous body parts in healthy people as they are unnecessary, ie- appendectomy, tonsilectomy, wisdom teeth, etc. Seems arrogant to assume we know enough about a system as complex as our own bodies to think that forcing changes on a large scale aren't going to have unforeseen consequences. There are problems with the way most livestock is raised and addressing those issues seems more reasonable to me even if many of us need to reduce consumption as a result.
Well intentioned, but woefully misguided. The "road to Hell..." yadda yadda yadda.
Ruminants can help just as much as they can hurt the environment, it just matters on how they are pastured, and where. If they are really serious about stopping methane and greenhouse gasses they'll get their butts up to the Arctic circle to work on refreezing the permafrost before the methane deposits below come belching out and do more harm than industry, transportation, and cattle combined. Large ruminants have proven to be one of the best tools for stomping down the snow and nibbling on the grasses to help lower the temperature by making the ice more compact and the surface of the earth more reflective.
Cattle strategically grazed can reverse the growth of the deserts, and bring back the grasslands, which will also help sequester greenhouse gasses. One more pharmaceutical, especially one that would make us unable to eat the thing that has made me healthy makes me want to kick something...hard.