The recent announcement from the World Health Organisation (WHO) which classified processed meat as a carcinogenic and red meat as “probably carcinogenic” (similar to Glyphosate in Roundup) shows that the amount and the frequency that we eat meat today should raise alarm.
There is a solution; Naturally, indeed it is nature: to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables (seasonal and local) and to reduce the weekly consumption of meat at least to half (as a start).
But even if there were no health reasons, or ethical reasons (terrible conditions for raising animals, infringement of animal rights, industrial factory farms etc.), the reduction of the consumption of meat is severely needed for environmental reasons: wasting of natural resources, water and soil pollution, worsening of climate change, etc.
Do you know that:
To satisfy the current demand for meat worldwide, there are 1 billion pigs, 19 billion chickens and 1.4 billion cattle bred.
The massive cattle farming is responsible for 80% of deforested areas in the Amazon.
Animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire transport sector.
80% of global soy production (predominantly genetically engineered) is grown to feed animals that are then used for human consumption as meat or dairy products; only 20% of soy production is for direct human consumption. The production of soy uses vast amounts of water and chemical products (pesticides and herbicides).
The amount of water (403.000 liters) that is needed for the production of one year’s worth of meat and dairy for one person is equivalent to someone taking 17 showers per day for a year or 6,190 showers.
The amount of water used to produce the amount of meat/dairy 1 person consumes in 1 year is 403,000 litres.
In 2011, there were 8,481 tons of antibiotics sold for use on livestock in the EU, equivalent to the weight of 706 double-decker buses.
In 2011, 8481 tonnes of antibiotics were sold in 25 EU countries.
What you can do:
Accept the challenge to reduce your weekly consumption of meat in half and invite your friends to do the same.
Elena Danali is a Sustainable Agriculture Campaigner with Greenpeace Greece.