Farm Photos

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Carnivorous Appeals to Antiquity

We here at Soulstice Gardens have been experiencing a lot of mixed feedback regarding our choice to abstain from eating animal flesh. It has all got me to thinking about meat in our culture, the new carnivorous fad diets that make meat-eating seem like the healthiest thing possible, and people's tendency to defend meat consumption till their blue in the face. Even I have gone back and forth on this issue. Some of the research regarding the nutritional benefits of meat products like bone broth illustrate the benefits of eating nutrient-dense foods. Others point to the rise in heart disease from eating such high-calorie meals. If health is your concern, there are vast numbers of diets that are healthy. We evolved on this earth as omnivores, and thank goodness for it because without the ability to eat meat we would never have made it this far. Is it time for us to evolve beyond carnivorism?

So, I am investigating this question: Nutritional or not, is eating meat the 'right' thing to do today? Is there an argument either way? 

The Environmental Side
I would argue that abstaining from meat consumption in today's world is possibly among the most positive things anyone can do for the environment. Every year globally, 56 billion animals are killed in an effort to feed humans meat. Let's pause for a second and think about the enormity of that number, that's 3000 lives per second. Here is a USDA count from 2008 for only U.S. consumption:

USDA slaughter stats 2008
Cattle: 35,507,500
Pigs: 116,558,900
Chickens: 9,075,261,000
Layer hens: 69,683,000
Broiler chickens: 9,005,578,000
Turkeys: 271,245,000

That was six years ago, and experts today suggest that our current numbers are expected to double by 2020. According to Cassandra Woods from Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment:
"The meat industry also has a significant impact on global warming. Livestock production accounts for 18 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, including 9 percent of carbon dioxide and 37 percent of methane gas emissions worldwide, according to the Livestock, Environment and Development (LEAD) Initiative, an international consortium of government and private agencies based at FAO headquarters in Rome. 
More than two-thirds of all agricultural land is devoted to growing feed for livestock, while only 8 percent is used to grow food for direct human consumption, LEAD reported. If the entire world population were to consume as much meat as the Western world does-176 pounds of meat per capita per year- the global land required would be two-thirds more than what is presently used, according to Vaclav Smil, professor of environment and geography at the University of Manitoba and participant in the EVP study."

It is the rise of industrial meat that has brought down small family ranches and destroyed the pastoral scene of a green field spotted with contented cows.

No comments:

Post a Comment