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Dr. Frank Mitloehner Corrects Every Myth You’ve Ever Heard about Cows, Methane, Climate...

Updated: May 22, 2019

Dr. Frank Mitloehner - Peak Human Podcast


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You guys are in for a treat. Dr. Frank Mitloehner is about to destroy every argument every anti-meat propaganda spewing know-it-all has ever let slip from their quinoa-loving lips. I’d list them all to get you fired up, but it would take too long. You’re just going to have to listen up and pay attention to every second of this episode.

Dr. Mitloehner has a masters in Agricultural Engineering and Animal Science from University of Leipzig, Germany, and a PhD in Animal Science from Texas Tech University.

He’s currently a professor and air quality specialist at UC Davis and conducts research and outreach that is directly relevant to understanding and mitigating air emissions and greenhouse gases from livestock operations, as well as the implications of these emissions for the health and safety of farm workers and neighboring communities.

He has served as chairman of a global United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) hosted partnership project to benchmark the environmental footprint of livestock production. This is big, everyone. He’ll talk about how he helped correct the FAO data (which is the world leader in this kind of information). These are the bogus statistics used in the film Cowspiracy and that vegan activists still try to use today. He corrected the scientists and showed that the numbers were completely false.

He’s also published dozens of papers on the topics we’ll be discussing today and travels the world giving lectures on this as well.

All this talk about livestock is making me hungry. I’ll have to drop a plug in for my grass fed meat company Nose to Tail which you can find at It’s keeping this podcast alive and hopefully me as well. We have some amazing products like the Primal Lite ground beef with liver, kidney, and heart mixed right in. It’s so good, I’ve been eating a lot of it lately, and you don’t even taste all those nutrient dense bits and pieces. This is such a great way to get in your vitamins and minerals. It’s basically the world’s best multivitamin - a delicious patty of sustainably grown beef raised right here in Texas.

We’ve got great boxes you can get delivered to your door or you can also create your own. You gotta at least check this stuff out at I spent a long time creating the site myself and am very proud of it.

If great steak isn’t your thing then you also can support this show on Patreon at or click through the show notes. For a few dollars a month you can keep this thing chugging along and also get the full extended show notes. These things are like a free college education… or better. Like this podcast, a lot of work has been put in them.

You can also grab the “It’s what else you EAT not the MEAT” t-shirts while getting a copy of the Food Lies film at

We still definitely need your support as we try to scrape enough money together to keep these editors fed. They’re down for the cause. They’re eating beef and skipping out on those worthless carbs and sugars. Trust me, they’re living this stuff and making this film the best it can be.

So keep me from taking on any outside sponsors and support these worthy causes and ventures. I really appreciate it everyone, this wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of the community. Thanks again and here’s Dr. Frank Mitloehner, my new favorite guy around.


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  • What he does on a day to day basis to study animal agriculture, emissions, air quality, and climate change

  • Vegan propaganda films like Cowspiracy made people believe animal agriculture caused more GHG than the whole transportation industry

  • The report “Livestock’s Long Shadow” was publicly retracted

  • He helped to show that they used totally different inputs and methods that

  • In California transportation is responsible for 50% of all emissions and livestock is only responsible for 5%

  • In the US livestock is actually 3.9% of direct GHG emissions and all fossil fuel sources combined is 80% according to the EPA

  • What is a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and what is it for beef?

  • They created the global partnership LEAP which he was the first chairman of

  • Created global guidelines to circumvent these problems for the future but many people still use these flawed statistics despite knowing they are wrong

  • Those that are anti-meat fall closer to that of a religion than of dietary preference

  • Cattle are raised on pasture for 2/3 of its life (regardless of if they are grass-finished or grain-finished)

  • When calculating water needed to raise cattle, rain water (green water) was included which is not sensible

  • Water that goes into an animal is excreted and serves as fertilizer, it’s a cycle

  • Water needed to make almond milk vs dairy milk is 17X higher

  • The water argument for fruits and vegetables vs animal products is misleading and must take into account your entire food choices

  • Our food choices will affect the lives of others no matter what diet you follow

  • Animal proteins are far more bioavailable than plant proteins

  • Biological value of animal products in ratios that are well-suited for humans needs to be talked about more

  • Environmental impact of plant proteins are relatively low but the nutritional value of these are lower than animals

  • In the US 90 million beef cattle and 9 million dairy cows

  • Vast majority of beef cattle (~75 million) are on pasture at any given time and 15 million are in feedlots

  • Cattle only spend 4 months in feedlots the rest of their life they are on pasture

  • Over their lifetime cattle consume 85% non-edible animal feed

  • Study mentioned: Tackling climate change through livestock (FAO)

  • Cattle are very efficient, they make use of a resource that humans cannot (cellulose)

  • Humans cannot digest cellulose

  • The vast majority of ruminant-produced food stems from the digestion of cellulose which humans can’t do anything with

  • 2/3 of agricultural land in the world is “marginal land” which cannot be used to grow crops

  • Ruminants are going to be very important for population growth

  • Domesticated animals and pets contribute to GHG (e.g. horses which there are 9.5 million of vs only 9 million dairy cows)

  • People critique livestock’s carbon footprint but not these companion animals

  • Feedlots aren’t as bad as we think

  • Each feedlot animal has enough space, fresh water, a specific nutritional diet, and the animals are cared for

  • Corn-finished steer will be on pasture for about 10-11 months and then will go to a feedlot for 4 months

  • Grass-finished will be on grass its entire life (~26-30 months of age)

  • The carbon impact of feedlot animals is actually less than grass-fed

  • The hormones in meat argument is totally bogus

  • US has the lowest environmental impact of any livestock producing country in the world (3.9% of GHG for all livestock combined)

  • 12% of all GHG in the world stem from the US and 11 of the 12% that the US contributes stems from fossil fuels and 1% of this stems from food production

  • 0.5% of the total GHG in the world comes from plant production and 0.5% comes from livestock

  • 40% of food in US ends up in landfills and most are fruits and vegetables

  • Fossil fuels are carbon sources and every time they are burnt you release carbon into the atmosphere

  • CO2 stays in the atmosphere for ~1000 years

  • Methane from ruminant animals starts from plants taking CO2 from the atmosphere combined with sunlight, used to produce cellulose and oxygen, now the animal eats the plants and exhale CO2 or they convert it to methane from the microbes in the animal’s stomach

  • Methane stays in the air for ~10 years because methane is very different from CO2

  • Livestock contribute to the CO2 cycle, the amount that animals add to the atmosphere is equal to the amount that is destroyed

  • Fossil fuel derived gases just add to the atmosphere, whereas methane is consumed and destroyed

  • CO2 has a GWP (ability of gas to store heat from sun) of 1

  • Methane has a GWP of 28 but the lifespan of these gases matter

  • Methane is not just generated it is also destroyed whereas CO2 is only generated

  • Problems with the Lancet “Planetary Diet” proposed by scientists that feel we should be plant-based claiming that this diet will protect human health and will be better for the environment

  • Claims about a plant-based diet that were falsely advertised that impact our decisions

  • GHG and carbon impact statistics in the Eat Lancet report were very flawed

  • 150 years ago, we had 60-100 million wild ruminants (particularly bison) and today we have ~90 million beef cattle and they emit pretty much the same amount of methane

  • The total amount of methane from ruminants has really not changed in the US since we just replaced natural herds of bison with domesticated herds of livestock

  • What has changed is the number of cars and travel emissions

  • Many misrepresented citations in the Eat Lancet paper

  • Lab grown meat vs farm-raised meat

  • Keeping cell-based meat “clean” of pathogens is very difficult, they are very artificial, and still require a ton of energy input

  • There are 400 different products from a beef and therefore foregoing the whole animal means you need alternatives to all of these products

  • Animal agriculture is a business and getting rid of this sector means many unintended consequences

  • “Impossible Burger” cannot be sold in supermarkets because the FDA has not approved “soy leghemoglobin” to be sold, yet you can buy it in restaurants

  • 84% of all vegans stay vegan for 1 year

  • The total consumption of beef vs beef-like products is much higher, and shows that this movement is not as large as we think

  • The most important decision we make day to day is what we eat and our decisions should be made with facts

  • We are responsible for providing animals with the best quality of life and we must honor the animals that feed us

  • Dr. Frank Mitloehner on Twitter:


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Kem Johnson
Kem Johnson
Oct 19, 2019

I only just discovered your remarkable podcast. I am a Kiwi and I too raise beef, on a small (a couple dozen animals). Interestingly, there are no feedlots here (well, one that exports solely to Japan) so all our beef and lamb are grass finished. I was actually disgusted by grain finished steak when I last visited the US... it reminded me of baby food. And the price of beef in the US is pretty outrageous; no wonder you take 200K tonnes from us yearly.

I loved Dr. Frank Mitloehne's interview. You have a good manner and get a lot from your guests. I'll keep mining the podcast, I have just downloaded Mark Sisson... I'll listen whilst mowing the ne…


Diana Louis
Diana Louis
May 17, 2019

This was one of the best podcasts on this subject that I have EVER heard! There is so much misinformation out there, and so much information that all people need to know. Share share share people! The information presented by Dr. Mitloehner is invaluable.

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