Animals 2012, 2(2), 108-126; doi:10.3390/ani2020108
Article

Carbon Footprints for Food of Animal Origin: What are the Most Preferable Criteria to Measure Animal Yields?

Received: 21 January 2012; in revised form: 5 March 2012 / Accepted: 13 March 2012 / Published: 27 March 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Livestock Management)
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Simple Summary: Greenhouse gas emissions from animal production are substantial contributors to global emissions. Therefore Carbon Footprints (CF) were introduced to compare emissions from various foods of animal origin. The CF for food of animal origin depends on a number of influencing factors such as animal species, type of production, feeding of animals, level of animal performance, system boundaries and output/endpoints of production. Milk and egg yields are more clearly defined animal outputs of production than food from slaughtered animals. Body weight gain, carcass weight gain, meat, edible fractions of carcass or edible protein are measurable outputs of slaughtered animals. The pros and contras of various outcomes under special consideration of edible protein are discussed in this paper.
Abstract: There are increasing efforts to determine the origin of greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activities (including food consumption) and to identify, apply and exploit reduction potentials. Low emissions are generally the result of increased efficiency in resource utilization. Considering climate related factors, the emissions of carbon dioxide, methane and laughing gas are summarized to so-called carbon footprints (CF). The CF for food of animal origin such as milk, eggs, meat and fish depend on a number of influencing factors such as animal species, type of production, feeding of animals, animal performance, system boundaries and outputs of production. Milk and egg yields are more clearly defined animal yields or outcomes of production than food from the carcasses of animals. Possible endpoints of growing/slaughter animals are body weight gain, carcass weight gain (warm or cold), meat, edible fractions or edible protein. The production of edible protein of animal origin may be considered as one of the main objectives of animal husbandry in many countries. On the other hand, the efficiency of various lines of production and the CF per product can also be easily compared on the basis of edible protein. The pros and contras of various outputs of animal production under special consideration of edible protein are discussed in the paper.
Keywords: food of animal origin; carbon footprints; system boundaries; milk; eggs; carcass; meat; edible protein
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MDPI and ACS Style

Flachowsky, G.; Kamphues, J. Carbon Footprints for Food of Animal Origin: What are the Most Preferable Criteria to Measure Animal Yields? Animals 2012, 2, 108-126.

AMA Style

Flachowsky G, Kamphues J. Carbon Footprints for Food of Animal Origin: What are the Most Preferable Criteria to Measure Animal Yields? Animals. 2012; 2(2):108-126.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Flachowsky, Gerhard; Kamphues, Josef. 2012. "Carbon Footprints for Food of Animal Origin: What are the Most Preferable Criteria to Measure Animal Yields?" Animals 2, no. 2: 108-126.

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