CCA Statement on FAO report

Calgary, AB – The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CCA) welcomes the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) report ‘Tackling Climate Change Through Livestock, A global assessment of emissions and mitigation opportunities’, and the two accompanying technical reports.
 
The FAO report notes the global livestock sector’s contribution to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is considerably lower than previously indicated, even though the new report’s calculation covers a scientifically revised range of environmental considerations. The report also identifies numerous management practices to further improve environmental efficiencies. These science-based practices have long been utilized by Canada’s beef cattle producers.
 
While this new information provides consumers and the public with a better understanding of the role livestock production plays in the overall emissions picture, it does not adequately outline the clear benefits and offsets inherent within the cattle industry. This will be done in a follow-up report, the Livestock Environmental Assessment and Performance Partnership (LEAP), led by the FAO that the CCA and other stakeholders will be involved with.
 
In Canada, cattle production contributes only four to five per cent of man-made GHGs, while well-maintained grasslands sequester as much atmospheric carbon as old-growth forests. The environmental benefits don’t end there. The same rangelands and pasture cattle graze on play a critical role in maintaining plant biodiversity, are crucial to the maintenance and proper function of watersheds, and minimize soil, wind and water erosion. These lands also provide habitat for wildlife and birds, including endangered and migratory species.
 
Canada’s beef cattle industry is very focused on responsible resource utilization and we are proud to be counted among the international leaders in this area.