(Bloomberg) -- The Golden Globes may be known as the “party of the year,” but for the American beef industry, there won’t be much to celebrate when the festivities kick off this Sunday.
The annual awards show is going vegan, with thousands of guests being served a plant-based meal for the first time ever. The decision -- driven by climate-change concerns -- comes at a time when the U.S. beef industry is trying to scrub its polluter image, with a vegan-burger craze sweeping the nation.
Agriculture-related industries are the biggest greenhouse gas emitters after energy. By some measures, farming accounts for more global emissions than transport, thanks in part to livestock production.
As consumers cry foul, big meat is hitting back, with the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association arguing American herds are already raised in a sustainable fashion. The group cites that the industry has a carbon footprint 10 to 50 times lower than rival global producers.
“While the intent is good, the impact is likely to be minimal,” the cattle group said in a statement, commenting on the Golden Globes’ decision to go vegan. “If all livestock in the U.S. were eliminated and every American followed a vegan diet,” greenhouse-gas emissions would only drop by 2.6%, the group said, citing a study from the National Academy of Sciences.
The Golden Globes’ move was cheered on Twitter by Hollywood heavyweight Leonardo DiCaprio as well as Mark Ruffalo, a climate change activist and actor. The awards show has proven itself adaptable to Hollywood diet trends: In 2018, it went gluten free and served fish as its non-vegetarian option. Steak hasn’t been a main course since 2017.
Officials for the awards show didn’t respond to requests seeking comment.
The meat industry’s big polluter image stems from cows, which emit methane as part of their normal digestive processes. To put it simply, it’s cow farts, burps and manure that are a large culprit. But big retailers and investors have been pressing companies to improve their footprint. Tyson Foods Inc. and Cargill Inc. have already pledged ambitious reductions in emissions.
But at least for now, stars attending the show in Beverly Hills, California, will nosh on king oyster mushrooms scallops along with a chilled beet soup.
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