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Author Topic: Meat consumption continues to increase
M.Gregus
babble intern
Babbler # 13402

posted 30 January 2008 06:08 AM      Profile for M.Gregus     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
A SEA change in the consumption of a resource that Americans take for granted may be in store — something cheap, plentiful, widely enjoyed and a part of daily life. And it isn’t oil.

It’s meat.

The two commodities share a great deal: Like oil, meat is subsidized by the federal government. Like oil, meat is subject to accelerating demand as nations become wealthier, and this, in turn, sends prices higher. Finally — like oil — meat is something people are encouraged to consume less of, as the toll exacted by industrial production increases, and becomes increasingly visible.

Global demand for meat has multiplied in recent years, encouraged by growing affluence and nourished by the proliferation of huge, confined animal feeding operations. These assembly-line meat factories consume enormous amounts of energy, pollute water supplies, generate significant greenhouse gases and require ever-increasing amounts of corn, soy and other grains, a dependency that has led to the destruction of vast swaths of the world’s tropical rain forests.

--

The world’s total meat supply was 71 million tons in 1961. In 2007, it was estimated to be 284 million tons. Per capita consumption has more than doubled over that period. (In the developing world, it rose twice as fast, doubling in the last 20 years.) World meat consumption is expected to double again by 2050, which one expert, Henning Steinfeld of the United Nations, says is resulting in a “relentless growth in livestock production.”

--

Americans are downing close to 200 pounds of meat, poultry and fish per capita per year (dairy and eggs are separate, and hardly insignificant), an increase of 50 pounds per person from 50 years ago. We each consume something like 110 grams of protein a day, about twice the federal government’s recommended allowance; of that, about 75 grams come from animal protein. (The recommended level is itself considered by many dietary experts to be higher than it needs to be.) It’s likely that most of us would do just fine on around 30 grams of protein a day, virtually all of it from plant sources.


The NY Times is rethinking meat.

[ 30 January 2008: Message edited by: M.Gregus ]


From: capital region | Registered: Oct 2006  |  IP: Logged
Farmpunk
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 12955

posted 30 January 2008 08:16 AM      Profile for Farmpunk     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Interesting story.

I think this is a more reasonable stance, at least a more defensible stance, than the usual "meat is bad", "meat is causing green house gases and global warming".

Clearly, meat needs to become more either more expensive to produce using current methods, or it needs to go back to how it used to be produced, in a more harmonious relationship with the land and the seasonal cycle. I argue fairly often with what I consider to be ill-informed or hopeful vegans\vegetarians\anti-meat people. I have yet to read of, or speak to, an organic\biodynamic farmer who believes that animals can be separated from our food system. It don't work that way.

That's really not fair of me, since that's more of an end-game discussion. First, yes, we need to eat less meat. I suspect with rising prices for a fairly static level of grain production, meat will become more expensive. Can't remember the exact stat, but I believe poultry prices jumped fast and high last year in the US. That alone will dissaude people from eating meat. Then again, that probably means that lower income people will not be able to eat as much meat.

Dunno. A massive topic, for sure.


From: SW Ontario | Registered: Jul 2006  |  IP: Logged
Trevormkidd
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 12720

posted 30 January 2008 10:18 AM      Profile for Trevormkidd     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I argue fairly often with what I consider to be ill-informed or hopeful vegans\vegetarians\anti-meat people. I have yet to read of, or speak to, an organic\biodynamic farmer who believes that animals can be separated from our food system.

Vegetarian? - yes. Ill-informed? - who isn't. Hopeful? - depends. Would I like to see far less animals raised for slaughter? Yup.

But, I am someone who does not believe that animals can be separated from organic/biodynamic farming.

At the same time I am not a supporter of organic/biodynamic farming which I view as narrow ideologies too often placing weight behind religious/spiritual thinking. The world is far more complicated than blanket statements of synthetic pesticides = bad; natural pesticides = good; synthetic fertilizer = bad; genetic modification = pure evil.

Plus I think that far greater environmental gains will come from GMO than organic agriculture (together they could make great gains but IFOAM voted 600 - 0 in favor of of banning GMOs, in my opinion enshrining ideology ahead of evidence). Nor do I think that organic farming can feed the world on the present amount of farmland. And being significantly more expensive, with a large chunk of that expensive simply paying for a label as the organic certification is not cheap from what I hear, I think that my money can do far more good elsewhere. I don't support the meat industry or the organics industry.


From: SL | Registered: Jun 2006  |  IP: Logged
Noise
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 12603

posted 30 January 2008 10:47 AM      Profile for Noise     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Plus I think that far greater environmental gains will come from GMO than organic agriculture

I wonder where the organics = environmentally friendly implication comes from... Unless you're getting into 100 mile diet (which is really independant from organic), the environmental impact remains pretty heavy. An organic tomato shipped from Chile is in no way more 'environmentally friendly' than a pestacide laden one grown here.


One of the harshest impacts of 'meat', in particular beef, follows the same line. The distribution system that gets the meat to the table almost goes completely ignored.


From: Protest is Patriotism | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged
bliter
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 14536

posted 30 January 2008 11:43 AM      Profile for bliter   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
During WW11 in England, I recall bins being left at street corners into which vegetable parings, meal scrapings and other food leftovers, that today many would compost, were placed.

These were collected, cooked and fed to pigs. I recall a flatbed truck passing one day with a dozen large, upturned, jellied molds of this food. They really smelled quite good.

I'm sure the pigs enjoyed the varied diet, which was probably superior to the grain diet that they may receive today. I'm sure it produced better meat, and was doubtless much better for the planet.


From: delta | Registered: Sep 2007  |  IP: Logged

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