Monday, May 18, 2009

Meat? Really?

I don't really buy into the assertion that vegetarianism is good for you. Humans evolved to eat meat. And while we can survive without animal protein in our diet, we are generally healthier if we consume the occasional egg or steak.

Which is why I find it really hard to believe that the biggest impact we, as a species, can make on the environment is to stop eating animals.

Give me a break. You're telling me that eating meat is more polluting to our environment than driving around, flying an airplane, dumping pharmaceuticals in our water, power washing the driveway, and Monsanto? Why do I have such a hard time believing this is anything more than crazy vegan propaganda, designed to instill me with the same self-loathing that those poor, anemic, animal loving, tofu-eaters seem to be consumed by?

And I quote:

On of the most meaningful things we can do to arrest climate change is to change the way we eat. As discussed previously, and as hammered home by the head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in recent lectures in London and Paris, the meat industry is one of the most devastating causes of global warming. And this is not just factory farming--some analysis indicates that smaller farms cause more warming. They're generally better for animal welfare, water pollution, and desertification, but they actually require more resources, and thus cause more greenhouse gas emissions.

We need government change: We need a shift away from the billions in annual subsidies for the meat industry, as discussed in a Union of Concerned Scientists report. We need more healthy vegetarian foods in schools and other government programs. We need education of the public about this very real cause for alarm and potential solutions. We need leaders who understand the issues and take them seriously. But we also need all of us to take personal charge of our lives, and to do what we can personally to decrease our support for climate change.

This implies that not only does my desire for chicken cause untold suffering, but also that even if I were to buy my hens from local farmers using free-range practices, I'd still be ruining the planet!

The author lumps in my craving for fowl with the destructive effects of large scale, South American cattle ranching!

And on another note:

...if the Earth is warmed by a mere 4 degrees Celsius, by the year 2099 the planet will become unrecognizable. We will have warm, acidic seas that will probably not sustain fish; many of the areas where food is grown and populations flourish will no longer be able to provide for either because of vast flooding or desertification...

Imagine what it might be like if 9 billion (the projected population by then) people are all scrambling to stake claim to a few select and prime habitable areas on the planet.

Really? 9 billion people?

So, apparently 3 billion more people will be living on the planet by 2099? Given all the current environmental pollution problems, potential pandemics, economic concerns and potential food shortages, what makes the mis-informed author of this piece think that there might actually be 9 billion human beings on the planet in 90 years?

I read the book Beyond Beef many years ago and am well aware of how grotesque the whole cattle industry is.

But come on! If I want a piece of fried chicken and have a nice plump hen in my backyard, you can hardly accuse me of destroying the planet.

Maybe the poor authors blood sugar was low. Vegetarianism does that.

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