How big is a turkey's (carbon) footprint?

This weekend, I'll be attending two big family gatherings, and at each one there will be at least one person who takes it as a personal affront that I eat very little meat. I swear, I make no judgment of people who eat meat, as my reasons for not eating it are by a personal health situation. But there always one person in a crowd who insists that I defend my choice, and since I have no desire to discuss my health with fringe relatives, I try to come armed with a few facts about the benefits of eating less meat. Nothing dulls a heated debate like numbers. They don't change anyone's mind, but sometimes they do bore and/or confound some people.

Here's something interesting from that I found while looking for information on why less meat consumption is better for the environment. The study is ten years old, but given that if the ag business hase improved its energy usage, all branches of it have probably done so at the same rate, the comparisons should hold.

The ratio of energy consumed to produce one unit of protein:
Chicken 4:1
Turkey 13:1
Milk protein 14:1
Pork 17:1
Eggs 26:1
Lamb meat 50:1
Beef cattle 54:1.

I thought that was pretty interesting, because I know a lot of people along with myself who chose eggs and milk products over meat and think we're doing a good thing environmentally. It turns out - we're not.

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