So You're an Environmentalist?
Why Are You Still Eating Meat?
With scientists having the capability of creating non meat that tastes like meat. How about instead of WAR we all work together and stop harming those
that are below us on the evolutionary scale. How would you feel if aliens being at a higher consciousness than us, ate us? I'm not rich enough to be
a vegetarian. They should be make non meat food taste much more like meat, much more accessible and cheep.
of WAR we all work together and stop harming those that are below us on the evolutionary scale. How would you feel if aliens being at a higher
consciousness than us, ate us? I'm not rich enough to be a vegetarian. They should be make non meat food taste much more like meat, much more
accessible and cheep.
Evidence shows a meat-based diet is bad for the environment,
aggravates global hunger, brutalizes animals and compromises health.
So why aren't more environmentalis..ts vegetarians?
This article originally appeared in E, The Environmental Magazine. January 3, 2002
There has never been a better time for environmentalis..ts to become vegetarians. Evidence of the environmental impacts of a meat-based diet is
piling up at the same time its health effects are becoming better known. Meanwhile, full-scale industrialized factory farming -- which allows diseases
to spread quickly as animals are raised in close confinement -- has given rise to recent, highly publicized epidemics of meat-borne illnesses. At
press time, the first discovery of mad cow disease in a Tokyo suburb caused beef prices to plummet in Japan and many people to stop eating meat.
All this comes at a time when meat consumption is reaching an all-time high around the world, quadrupling in the last 50 years. There are 20 billion
head of livestock taking up space on the Earth, more than triple the number of people. According to the Worldwatch Institute, global livestock
population has increased 60 percent since 1961, and the number of fowl being raised for human dinner tables has nearly quadrupled in the same time
period, from 4.2 billion to 15.7 billion. U.S. beef and pork consumption has tripled since 1970, during which time it has more than doubled in
One reason for the increase in meat consumption is the rise of fast-food restaurants as an American dietary staple. As Eric Schlosser noted in his
best-selling book Fast Food Nation, "Americans now spend more money on fast food -- $110 billion a year -- than they do on higher education. They
spend more on fast food than on movies, books, magazines, newspapers, videos and recorded music -- combined."
Strong growth in meat production and consumption continues despite mounting evidence that meat-based diets are unhealthy, and that just about every
aspect of meat production -- from grazing-related loss of cropland and open space, to the inefficiencies of feeding vast quantities of
water and grain to cattle in a hungry world, to pollution from "factory farms" -- is an environmental disaster with wide and sometimes catastrophic
consequences. Oregon State University agriculture professor Peter Cheeke calls factory farming "a frontal assault on the environment, with massive
groundwater and air pollution problems."
World Hunger and Resources
The 4.8 pounds of grain fed to cattle to produce one pound of beef for human beings represents a colossal waste of resources in a world still teeming
with people who suffer from profound hunger and malnutrition.
According to the British group Vegfam, a 10-acre farm can support 60 people growing soybeans, 24 people growing wheat, 10 people growing corn and only
two producing cattle. Britain -- with 56 million people -- could support a population of 250 million on an all-vegetable diet. Because 90 percent of
U.S. and European meat eaters' grain consumption is indirect (first being fed to animals), westerners each consume 2,000 pounds of grain a year. Most
grain in underdeveloped countries is consumed directly.
While it is true that many animals graze on land that would be unsuitable for cultivation, the demand for meat has taken millions of productive acres
away from farm inventories. The cost of that is incalculable. As Diet For a Small Planet author Frances Moore Lappé writes, imagine sitting down to
an eight-ounce steak. "Then imagine the room filled with 45 to 50 people with empty bowls in front of them. For the 'feed cost' of your steak, each
of their bowls could be filled with a full cup of cooked cereal grains."
Harvard nutritionist Jean Mayer estimates that reducing meat production by just 10 percent in the U.S. would free enough grain to feed 60 million
people. Authors Paul and Anne Ehrlich note that a pound of wheat can be grown with 60 pounds of water, whereas a pound of meat requires 2,500 to 6,000
Energy-intensive U.S. factory farms generated 1.4 billion tons of animal waste in 1996, which, the Environmental Protection Agency
reports, pollutes American waterways more than all other industrial sources combined. Meat production has also been linked to severe erosion of
billions of acres of once-productive farmland and to the destruction of rainforests.
McDonald's took a group of British animal rights activists to court in the 1990s because they had linked the fast food giant to an unhealthy diet and
rainforest destruction. The defendants, who fought the company to a standstill, made a convincing case. In court documents, the activists asserted,
"From 1970 onwards, beef from cattle reared on ex-rainforest land was supplied to McDonald's." In a policy statement, McDonald's claims that it
"does not purchase beef which threatens tropical rainforests anywhere in the world," but it does not deny past purchases.
According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), livestock raised for food produce 130 times the excrement of the human population,
some 87,000 pounds per second. The Union of Concerned Scientists points out that 20 tons of livestock manure is produced annually for every U.S.
household. The much-publicized 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska dumped 12 million gallons of oil into Prince William Sound, but
the relatively unknown 1995 New River hog waste spill in North Carolina poured 25 million gallons of excrement and urine into the water, killing an
estimated 10 to 14 million fish and closing 364,0
[edit on 8-6-2010 by Theone2000]