Stop eating meat!

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Stop eating meat!

By Amit Singh


soyculto under a Creative Commons Licence

If you ask someone how they can help stop climate change, they might talk about recycling or turning off the lights. If they know a bit more, maybe they will talk about divestment (getting organisations to stop investing in oil) or the environmental problems from oil and coal. They will probably not talk about meat.

There is a clear connection between eating meat and harming the environment. Maybe eating meat is not as bad for the environment as the pollution from big powerful cars, but eating a lot of meat has a big effect. People who talk about sustainability must think about how much meat they eat.

Part of the problem is that when we eat meat, we often don’t think about meat production. We should find out where the meat came from, how it was produced and if it was local.

The meat industry is big and successful. In 2012, the United States exported 1.5 billion metric tonnes of beef – and earned $631 billion. Some people are getting very rich from other people eating meat.

In 2012, about 70 billion animals were farmed for 7.1 billion people. That is about 10 animals per person. And farming animals produces more than 18 per cent of all greenhouse-gas emissions. And this causes climate change.

Farming animals for meat produces more greenhouse gases than all the carbon dioxide from all transport (planes, trains, cars and boats) together. Animal production also causes 75 per cent of deforestation.

Being a vegetarian is a good way to help the environment. But some people find it too difficult to stop eating meat completely. Some people eating meat only two or three days a week. If enough people did this, it would cut the need for unsustainable farming.

We should also think about how we buy meat. Big meat companies make a lot of money from meat, and also destroy the earth. Intensive farming has made prices cheaper, but is not so good for animal welfare, sustainability and healthy food.

Big farms sell meat to an international market not a local area. They cut forests. They produce a lot of cheap, bad-quality food. So people eat too much and get too fat. We need to support small, organic farming. We need to pay more for good- quality, sustainable food.

Everyone now knows that being vegetarian is good for health. But now people are talking about how being vegetarian is more ethical. People can be part-time vegetarians, or only eat fish. So we can all eat less meat and help save the planet.

NOW READ THE ORIGINAL: (This article has been simplified so the words, text structure and quotes may have been changed).