Young and Hungry

The Global Fight Over Meat Eating


History, I think, will look back at the early 21st century as an important period in our developing attitude about greenhouse gases and global warming — and about how far we were willing to go to change our habits.  The fact is, there are many powerful forces, with seriously vested interests, who don't want us to face facts about meat eating and its harmful effects on health and environment.

Consider two recent examples:

The meat industry, both here and in Britain, went apeshit.

Consider these comments directed at the administrators of BCPS:

Janet Riley of the American Meat Institute told Atlantic Food Channel that, "Meat is associated with weight control. It's not the number one source of fat in [kids'] diet." Atlantic writer Eliza Barclay gives Riley more digital room to ramble: Riley "also invoked her own two sons to emphasize that kids require animal protein in their diets. 'Meat is what keeps them satisfied and out of the pantry,' she told me."

Pork Magazine also went postal over BCPS' Meatless Monday: "The danger of the Baltimore City Public Schools system’s Meatless Mondays is in infringement of a student’s freedom of choice on that day. What is to stop the school system from determining that tomatoes, for example, are unfit for consumption on Tuesday’s and, since they have already set a precedent, declare Tomatoless Tuesdays? What about Fishless Fridays? Absurd, perhaps. But no more so than their rights-infringing and opinion-driven bad policy they call Meatless Monday."

The reaction was considerably more interesting in Britain, where livestock producers didn't deny their role in carbon emissions. Instead, they argued that they're already well on the way toward creating better and more efficient farms to reduce their carbon footprint.

So says the Times Online, in a piece today:

It was the lack of acknowledgement about what the industry is doing to help to fight climate change that made senior farming leaders so outraged by the comment by Lord Stern. The reaction in Whitehall, however, was muted. The remarks were a personal view from Lord Stern, who is an economist, one senior insider said.

It was left to Professor Robert Watson, chief scientific adviser at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to set the record straight and make clear that stopping people eating meat was not on the government agenda. The professor, who eats meat, fish and cheese but admits that he consumes more fruit and vegetables these days, made clear that eating a balanced diet that was good for health and the environment was the key. However, he did not flinch from Lord Stern’s view that the nation had to reduce its carbon emissions.

“There’s no question we need to reduce greeenhouse gas emissions, not only the way we produce energy and use energy, but also from avoiding deforestation and our agricultural sector. Livestock globally could account for as much as 18 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions.

“When you look at the livestock industry, it’s not just the cows burping methane, it’s transporting the meat, it’s cooking the meat, it’s storing the meat. It’s not stopping eating meat. It’s how do we get a balanced diet that reduces the environmental footprint.”

Work is already under way to tackle emissions from livestock. Defra has a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture by 11 per cent in 2020. Duncan Fuller, head of research and development at the English Beef and Lamb Executive, said new feeding regimes were being investigated.

Photo by VirtualErn via Flickr Creative Commons, Attribution License

  • Rental Property Management

    Thanks for this post. I used to eat red meat many times a week. Not only do I get tired easily and feel depressed, I also feel very heavy. I hate stairs, I don't like long walk and most especially I don't run. Somebody advised me to change my eating habit. It was not easy, but I did it anyways. I now eat white meat, more veggies and fruits and lots of drinking water. And then, there was a change, I'm happy, I'm smaller, I can go through the stairs, though I still prefer the elevator if there's any, I can run and I can do long walk. Most of all, I'm healthier. I'm doing this for my health and not for global warming. However if I am contributing to save the earth, then the more I should eat veggies.

  • Former Staffer

    Let me eat steak...and chicken...and venison...and elk...and fish...and mollusks...and crustaceans...and rabbit...and bear...and pork...and then cake.

    Want to eat meat and save the world? Quit breeding.

  • Mike

    My main food groups are meat and beer. I don't think the industrial agriculture used to grow the soybeans that would supply the protein to a hypothetical vegetarian world would be much better than letting people eat meat.

    I find this interesting as well -,8599,1889742,00.html

  • Pingback: The Global Fight Over Meat Eating Victoria University VU China

  • tacostacostacos

    Here is a good video on the subject:

  • vikki arnau

    stop dictating to the world what we can and can not do, eat, think, say , feel, wear , buy, man!! it just goes on and on and on and on....what happened to our individuality, our human soul....THX1138 watch it see it and believe it...we are close, so very close...Al Gore sucks....and you know it and we know are taking everything away from us so we all will be under one rule...united nations has become the one world order and with cameras on every stree corner and than one day our babies will be given a "chip" to control our every move...gps, bar codes it just doesn't stop...until the elite controls the massive...does the world leaders think all mankind is stupid? No, don't think for a minute because as long as we can think we will struggle to keep our individuality and our freedoms...keep big global governments out of our homes..