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The cattle industry infiltrated academia to downplay its role in climate change and promulgated junk science, a new  study, co-authored by a professor at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School, has found. 

“This research underscores how industry-funded initiatives within academic institutions have perpetuated misinformation and hindered meaningful action on climate change mitigation in the animal agriculture sector,” said professor Jeniffer Jacquet.

Jacquet, a Rosenstiel professor and Viveca Morris, a research scholar at Yale Law School, presented their findings in a recent article in the journal Climatic Change.

The livestock industry’s impact on climate change was detailed in the 2006 United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization’s 390-page report “Livestock’s Long Shadow.” 

That report provided the first global assessment of animal agriculture’s contribution to human-caused warming, land degradation, air pollution, water shortage and loss of biodiversity.

The cattle industry funded efforts were bolstered by collaborations with academic researchers. Notably, funding support from the beef industry helped to create what appeared to be a phony scientific dispute that shifted blame away from cattle production.

The study evaluated the origins, funding sources, and activities of academic centers and researchers. It highlights the need for transparency in academic-industry partnerships.

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“It’s now well established that the animal agriculture industry is a major contributor to the climate crisis,” Morris said. “Yet, in the United States – one of the largest producers and consumers of meat and dairy products – livestock greenhouse gas emissions remain effectively unregulated.”

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