That was the marketing slogan for the Australian meat industry many years ago & we Aussies of a certain age still remember it…
Well there was an article in the Sunday Times recently (Eat Meat and Save the Planet, 19 Sep 2010) in which a prominent eco-warrior, Simon Fairlie, proclaims that by eating meat we are doing more for the environment than be being vegetarian or vegan. And I say to him – THANK YOU!!!!
In his new book he reasons that raising animals for meat is not a bad thing due to:
- If one is a vegetarian and eats diary, then what happens to male goats, sheep, calves etc? They are of no use, so instead of slaughtering them needlessly, what better use than to eat them?
- Humans need to eat protein & fat to stay healthy. Vegetarians & vegans won’t eat animal products so they import plant substitutes such as olive oil, coconut oil, avocadoes, peanut butter, tahini, nuts, chick peas, lentils, dried fruit, soy oil from far away places. This is not only expensive but the distances these items are transported produces a large carbon foot-print!
He believes the UN calculation of greenhouse gas emissions attributed to the cattle industry is wrongly calculated because they assume all Amazon deforestation is due to cattle rather than logging or development, they mix up single emissions with ongoing sources plus they confuse gross and net production of nitrous oxide & methane (other greenhouse gasses).
The other aspect of deforestation is soy growing, which is mostly for the cattle industry for feed in the form of soy meal (ref: Corpwatch). So is it meat eating which is the problem or feedlot cattle that is really the issue? Not only are lot feed cattle helping deforestation for soy production but its also detrimentally affecting our whole food chain (see my blog – Providence of Provenance)!
Besides the health issue of feeding animals with soy, corn or other grains, the other argument for grass fed animals is that pasture is actually a good carbon sink plus stops soil erosion (see my blog – Death of a Seeds-Man & Graham Harvey’s book).
I don’t deny we all probably eat far too much meat, but i do believe we need meat as part of a healthy diet – but not any meat… It needs to be pasture fed meat, preferably organic. It’s back to basics and the provenance of your food.
This leads me to the question – how much meat is the correct amount? I am researching this so stay tuned for the answer!
In the meantime – feed the man grass fed meat…