The startling impact of our meat addiction described in the excellent October 13, 2019 NY Times Book Review article, “Meat Is Murder” gives ample evidence of a need to change but little hope that the lure of cheese burgers will lessen any time soon.
Of course the surge of human numbers has clearly done more to feed the excess so frighteningly depicted in this NY Times Book Review piece on our addictive attachment to meat eating!
While such eating habits prove fatal in the total number of deaths even as the article notes “high tech fake meat isn’t the answer, because even though vegan ultra-processed foods doesn’t kill animals it kills people and furthers climate change”!!!
So back to basics which this web site has so well documented: The growth of human numbers is the root cause of all planetary ills and while dealing with meat addiction bears urgent attention, recognition of human population limits on our finite orb still awaits world leaders action!
— ColumbiaPublicHealth (@ColumbiaMSPH) September 21, 2019
Foer again emphasizes that our treatment of animals is unethical and inhumane. He correctly adds that the system that supports the raising of something like 10 billion land animals per year in the United States alone (a ballpark figure, since no reliably accurate number exists) is also a mighty contributor to a public health emergency and the climate crisis.
One can argue that industrial production of animals is responsible for as little as 7 percent of greenhouse gases (the geophysicist Gidon Eshel, whom I believe to be reliable), or 11 percent (Climate Watch), or 15 percent (the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), or upward of 50 percent (Worldwatch), but it’s another fuzzy number and it hardly matters. The fact remains, eating animals contributes to climate change and, given that meat-eating also has profound negative effects on public health, other environmental issues (in Iowa alone, pigs produce as much excrement as more than 80 million people) and our farming culture (almost 40 percent of all corn is grown to feed confined animals), it behooves us to do less of it.
But industrial agriculture in general — the foundation of all of this — is an even bigger contributor, and that’s not all about meat. It’s about monoculture (the growing of one or at most two crops on vast swaths of land); it’s about the cartels that make up Big Ag; and it’s about using our most fertile land to grow corn and soybeans, not only to feed livestock but to form the basis of most ultra-processed food.
The truth is not news: For personal health, for lives to be less threatened by changing climate, people must eat differently. How to do this is not debatable — more plants, fewer animals, less junk — yet those who profit from the status quo will fight those changes through marketing and obfuscation of facts.
Consider what happened with tobacco. It was thought to be dangerous in the ‘30s; it was proved to cause lung cancer in 1948; the surgeon general warned us in 1964; and then there was the 1988 states’ attorneys generals’ Master Settlement Agreement, which, among other things, limited the marketing of tobacco. This last was effective because it actually made it more difficult to smoke. For all the talk about industrial agriculture being a contributor to climate change, for all the talk about the dangers of ultra-processed foods, the reaction has largely been more talk and almost no action.
From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013
By Donald A. Collins
Publisher: Church and State Press (July 30, 2014)
Why eating healthy is so expensive in America
Why I must speak out about climate change – James Hansen
Vatican control of World Health Organization population policy: An interview with Milton P. Siegel
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