A new economic model in research conducted by Cornell University, Johns
Hopkins University, and international partners in Lancet Health reveals
that while plant-based 'beef' alternatives help reducecarbon dioxide
emissions, their growth and popularity are threatening more than 1.5
million jobs in the U.S.
According to the paper published in/The Lancet/, the U. S.could reduce
its agricultural carbon footprint by 2.5% to 13.5% by using meat protein
alternatives, mostly through the reduction of the number of cows needed
for for beef production by two to 12 million. The researchers compared
the disruption to plant-based beef alternatives by comparing the
economic consequences of when plant-based beef alternatives replaced
10%, 30%, or 60% of the current U.S. beef demand.
The researchers wrote that in the aggregate, changes in the food system
would be small, but would have positive impacts on national gross
product. However, these changes would not be felt equally across the
food system, the researchers wrote, ‚??especially in the beef value chain
which could contract substantially by as much as 45% under the
60%-replacement scenario, and would challenge the livelihoods of the
more than 1.5 million people employed in these sectors.‚?Ě
The adoption of plant-based beef alternatives has other unintended
consequences, according to the authors. Resources freed from beef
sectors could allow the port and poultry sectors to expand, which could
raise animal welfare concerns.