Reading time: 3:30min | Why meat is an existential threat.
This subject could be a perfect fit for a long read, even a book. I know, roughly 85% of the world disagrees with me on this (in developed countries around only 10-15% avoid meat), but please bear with me. I will try to explain in brief why we must let go meat.
First of all, meat is unhealthy. It wouldn’t be that bad if meat were not ubiquitous. It’s literally all over the place, regardless of where you are. At home, at school, at the airport, train station, at work, you name it — it’s the core of most of the meals one can buy. To get a grip of that try to travel on a vegan diet. Close to impossible. Because it’s a commodity like water and tastes so good, we tend to overdose badly and stick to an unhealthy diet. The results are cardiovascular diseases (CVD) that are a decades-long epic pandemic raging the world like never before and with more than 17 million premature deaths in 2016 dwarfing Covid-19 to a little gnome of a pandemic. Why do we care so little?
- You can’t contract CVDs like Covid-19, the flu or Ebola from your neighbour, daughter or co-worker.
- The global rise of CVD is a long ongoing process to which medical health systems are adjusting year after year.
- We consider a heart stroke as personal lousy luck, somewhat inevitable, an individual disaster but surely nothing of public interest (again, you can’t contract CVD like Covid-19).
First of all, meat is malicious and turns us all into psychopaths. Why is that? Well, despite thousands of media available like this one, we cut out the suffering, we close our eyes on the hell billions of animals have to go through. Being living creatures like us, we keep on consuming them without a blink. We set aside the fact that an animal must die just for our gusto. We even consider the death of others being a just foundation for our existence. We disregard the fact that someone has to do the bloody job causing mental health on millions of butchers. If that is not psychopathic, what is?
First of all, meat production pays into global warming with a percentage that is only beaten by energy plants and industry. Contrary to the heating of your house meat consumption is not essential. But we don’t care. We don’t even consider meat to be a prominent factor in climate warming. We cheer ourselves when skipping a flight and spend our holidays somewhere closer home but will not drop the habit of celebrating a barbecue with tons of meat. The numbers tell a different story: meat production causes 15% greenhouse gas, whereas aviation emits 2%. I’m not promoting here the aviation industry, on the contrary. Not to fly is an effective way to keep down your footprint since only a fraction of the world population have the funds to buy a ticket (climate hell breaks loose if everyone on earth could afford to fly). But it’s worth to know what’s going on outside our bubble.
First of all, extensive livestock farming causes manure, be it liquid or solid. It’s the waste animals, and humans alike produce as a result of our living — eat, shit. This liquid is spread on the fields as a fertiliser. With intensive crop farming intensive livestock framing teams up to an unholy agribusiness that over fertilises the fields causing nitrate pollution that will trickle down (pun intended) to the groundwater for generations to come, even if we were to stop livestock farming today for good.
Ok. I’ll be quicker now.
First of all, there is the energy footprint. The crop animals eat for pasture primarily heats the universe. Only a tenth of the energy fed into pigs remains within pork and warms our bellies. Better we would eat the crop in the first place. Imagine what we could do with all the remaining fields.
First of all, if there were no livestock, there wouldn’t be the need for intensive farming. All crops could be farmed organically. There wouldn’t be a slash-and-burn land clearance of rain forest for cattle farming, insects would thrive and many more other great things would happen.
And so on.
But there is hope. In Germany, at least, meat consumption is going down year by year. Not by a 10 per cent figure but by clearly more than 0.1%.
Is that snail pace fast enough to safe the climate in time? No. Is that enough to cure us of psychopathy? No. Is that enough to secure millions of humans life from an early death? No. Is that enough to safe the drinking water from nitrate? No. Will it bring back insects, birds and an intact environment? No.
But it’s a tiny light in a vast ruinous tunnel.
The earlier we let go meat, the better the next generation will be off, in multiple ways. Let go meat is the ultimate step to the next level of humanity.