Grass fed sheep and cattle can be seen as a solution to global warming in the UK – not a problem – according to a new report.

That was the welcoming news from The Pasture-fed Livestock Association (PFLA) which claims that animals fed grass and pasture only, help build soil fertility and carbon capture while also encouraging wildlife, creating high animal welfare and healthier meat for consumers to eat.

However, not all meat is the same according to Russ Carrington, general manager at PFLA.

“All our farmer members are passionate about cattle and sheep grazing in their natural environment, providing consumers with the very best certified ‘Pasture for Life’ meat and dairy,”

“We know ecologically this makes sense for animals, humans and the planet, but we do recognise that livestock contribute to climate change. So we have looked into this in detail and published a few answers to common environmental questions raised, based on latest science and research.”

He stressed that cattle and sheep have not caused global warming, but the way in which some are reared intensively has played a part.

Livestock fed grains including cattle, pigs and poultry, rely heavily on fossil fuels to grow, harvest, process, transport and feed the grain. In contrast, pasture-fed cattle and sheep rely on existing grasslands and very little use of additional inputs.

The amount of methane cattle and sheep contribute to the atmosphere is often held up as a good reason to eat less meat. But methane emissions are part of the natural carbon cycle and burning fossil fuels and intensive agriculture has disrupted the stabilising effect of this cycle.

Other less climate-responsible systems do add significantly to global warming but a move to agro-ecological systems like 100% pasture fed systems manages farmland to maximise carbon capture, can help combat it, he said.