Should Beef Be Used As Biofuel?

by flickr user wYnand! used under Creative Commons liscense


Just when you thought biofuel couldn’t get any more contentious, bam, it totally did. Are you ready for this? Tesco, a UK-based retailer, sells 5,000 tons of expired meat a year to biofuel companies, which turn it into energy. How many cows is that? About 80. Vegans and animal rights activists are up in arms. Here’s why.

Five thousand tons of expired meat took 148,000,000 pounds of carbon to raise. Sure, doing something with all that expired meat is better than letting it rot in a landfill, but not growing it in the first place would mean a net savings in carbon, water, and energy, not to mention animal waste and pollution. This is one of the main arguments biofuel detractors make: Turn corn or soy into a biofuel, and more people will go hungry. Turn meat into a biofuel? Well, that’s pretty much the worst idea ever.

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  • Sonja Sharp is a journalist in New York and former Mother Jones editorial fellow.