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Game meat – good for the climate

If you eat game, you can be happy that game meat costs less than 2 percent of the CO₂ emitted by beef. Photo: Unknown

by Jeppe Lykke Hansen

If you want to serve climate-friendly meat, it is an idea to look at some of the seasonal game. Autumn has descended on Denmark, and for the Danish hunters -1st of october is a special day of celebration. 1st October is when the hunt really starts, and the hunters can send a lot of meat straight from the wild and into the freezer.

And that is actually good news for the climate. Game meat costs significantly less in the climate account than traditionally produced agricultural meat.

According to a report from the Swedish University of Agriculture, the production of one kilogram of venison costs only half a kilogram of CO2.

This must be seen in relation to the fact that it costs an average of 26 kilos of CO2 to produce 1 kilo of beef – i.e. 52 times as much.

Climate meat

The report looks at protein and carbohydrate sources, and venison is the most climate-friendly of the protein sources in the report.

Even meat substitutes made from, for example, soy and beans are less climate-friendly than game meat.

The substitutes cost as much as chicken, which costs six times as much CO2 as venison.

Hitting the green

According to the report, venison even surpasses several vegetables in terms of climate friendliness.

If you serve your deer with a salad, it is the salad that is the climate culprit in that meal. Salad costs one kilo of CO₂ per kilo of salad.

If the vegetables are flown in, they cost 11 kilos of CO2 for each kilo, which is almost the same as pork.

Game is limited

The very low CO2 costs of wild game can be good to be aware of if you want to make a climate-friendly dinner, but according to professor of climate change and agriculture Jørgen E. Olesen from Aarhus University, this will not solve the problems in relation to the global warming.

– No, not enough venison can be supplied at all, but otherwise it is very sensible to utilize the venison. The problem is that we don’t get more game from eating it, he says.

Possible to eat a little more game, but…

However, Jørgen E. Olesen believes that we can eat a bit more game, but it will not be enough to move the big calculation.

– There is some of the game that can be shot a little more, but it is not going to solve all the world’s climate challenges. The amount of farm animals is many times greater than game, he says.

The explanation for venison’s very low CO2 costs lies in the fact that game eats relatively climate-neutral lichen, heather, bark and grass out in nature, while the production of feed for livestock requires large resources.

Game must live wild

If it is fenced or fed game, it shifts the calculation so that the CO2 costs are increased for the game meat.

Game meat makes up only a few percent of the total meat consumption in Sweden, and the report emphasizes, like Jørgen E. Olesen, that it will not be practically possible to substitute the current consumption with game shot in the wild.


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