A new study into the environmental impact of meat production has singled out beef as the worst offender.
The study says beef requires far more resources than other meats to produce, but industry representatives here say they are working on making the red meat greener.
New Zealand red meat exports total almost $8 billion annually.
The new study, based on meat production in the United States, which did not include lamb, is pointing the finger at the environmental impact of beef production.
It found beef needs 28 times more land than that required for the production of poultry and pork, and it requires 11 times more water.
What's more, the study says beef production leads to five times more greenhouse gas emissions when compared to the other meats.
Snap Fresh Food vegetable grower Ashley Berrysmith says greens are the cleanest food choice for people concerned about their carbon footprint.
"One meat burger a week is equivalent of cutting out 500 kilometres of driving in your car, so that's the reality of it," says Mr Berrysmith. "So you can drive your normal car but just stop eating meat once a week, then you're really doing a lot for the environment."
Agriculture accounts for almost half of New Zealand's greenhouse gas emissions, but Beef and Lamb New Zealand says the industry is getting more efficient.
"We've reduced our impact on the environment considerably, producing more meat on less land with less environmental impact," says Ben O'Brien from Beef and Lamb.
But those behind the study say the science is clear - if you want to pollute less, eat more greens and less red meat.
source: newshub archive