Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Hooray for the USA, we're eating less meat!

Piglets at Minnesota State Fair
A report on National Public Radio noted that citizens of the USA are eating 12 percent less meat than we were five years ago.  That said, we shouldn't boast too much about this trend, since Americans still eat about one-sixth of the total meat consumed in the world, despite that we're only one-twentieth of the population.

Why celebrate this reduction in meat eating? The environmental impact of meat production is tremendous. It is estimated that the meat industry contributes about 18 percent of global greenhouse-gas emissions.  Methane and Nitrous Oxide, byproducts of meat production. have many times the global-warming potential than Carbon Dioxide.  Another environmental concern is land degradation in the 30 percent of the world's land set aside for raising livestock.  Finally, the amount of water needed to feed animals is greater than to simply grow grains, vegetables, legumes and fruits.
Cows grazing on farm near
Lanesboro, Minnesota

Because of the high environmental costs of raising livestock it is thought that this sector is one of the top two or three contributors to our local and global environmental concerns. Hence, it is good for the environment when we eat lower on the food chain.  And, it is often better for our health too!

As our meat consumption declines I'm eager to watch a commercial from a national restaurant chain with the punch line of "Where's the tofu?"

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