Sunday, January 27, 2008

Meat Machine

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. It is estimated that an average of 30% of land (ice free) is directly or indirectly involved in livestock production. Americans eat about eight ounces a day, rougly twice the global answer. Though some 800 million people on the planet now suffer from hunger or malnutrition, the majority of corn and soy grown in the world ffeeds cattle, pigs, and chickens. The environmental impact of growing so much grain for animal feed (which is not what they should be eating) is profound. Agriculture in the United States, much of which now serves the demand for meat, contributes to nearly three quarters of all water-quality problems in the nation's rivers and streams, according to the EPA. The good news is that Americans are also buying more environmentally friendly products, choosing more sustainably produced meat, eggs, and dairy. farmers markets have more than doubled in the last ten years, and many local farmers sell grass fed, healthy, antiobiotic free animals for meat.

This is not to say we can no longer eat meat, but maybe eat a little less, eat a little local.

Source: NYTimes

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