Meat is killing the planet. Period. Full stop. The commercial production of meat is filled with misery, it is cruel, it causes illness, shortens our lives, poisons our water and air, is an engine of species’ extinctions, and has a broad negative psychological influence on us. But hey, there’s lots of money in it.
Denialists and critics will look at that list of costs and poke holes in it, or try to. But climate scientists, and those not making money on meat commonly acknowledge that eating meat is killing the planet. A few links:
Scrap subsidies for farmers, scientific journal declares. ‘Lancet’ says food producers should be banned from lobbying and treated like ‘Big Tobacco.’ Independent.ie January 30, 2019.
Avoiding meat and dairy is ‘single biggest way’ to reduce your impact on Earth. The Guardian. May 31, 2018.
Climate change food calculator: What’s your diet’s carbon footprint?
BBC News. December 13, 2018.
Think locavore is the answer? Guess again For a lower climate footprint, vegetarian diet beats local. Science Daily. October 23, 2018.
I’m very doubtful that we, the human collective, are going to be able to do much of anything to forestall the civilization-crushing effects of global warming; there’s just too much money to be made in the short term from ignoring the warning signs and science.
In an odd and sort of selfish way, I appreciate the fact that experts in meat production and their institutions are denying or simply ignoring the problem. Since first looking into the large publicly-funded universities’ justifications for their use of animals and their tortured attempts to justify it, I’ve found that plain facts don’t matter to them. Their spokespeople are sometimes uninformed, wrong, and lie. The most charitable explanation for their circumlocutionary claims is money.
My education on this point came about by listening to vivisectors and senior spokespersons publicly defending an institution’s cruelty when they are financially vested. Their income, retirement, persona, academic standing, power, everything, is connected to, and sometimes wholly dependent on their institution’s income from publicly-funded experiments on animals. Likewise with meat producers.
In both cases, when pressed by the public, they dodge and deflect. They always claim that they are making improvements — in welfare or lower emissions-producing methods, but their promises seems always to be little more than appeasement.
The fact that vested professors of “animal science” at large agricultural schools deny the impact of meat falls perfectly into line with the vivisectors’ assertions. This makes sense since both groups ardently defend raising animals to hurt and kill.
For instance, Frank M. Mitloehner, Ph.D., Professor and Air Quality Extension Specialist, Department of Animal Science, University of California, Davis, claims that meat production doesn’t have much effect on the environment. His understanding of the science was questioned by a team of researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. UC-Davis hosts one of the hideous NIH National Primate Research Centers. Peas in a pod.
A crazier example is the University of Wisconsin, Madison’s promotion of meat. The College of Agricultural and Life Sciences hosted a “meat contest” intended to help meat producers increase their sales — at a time when every sane person is urging people to reduce their meat consumption. The contest was promoted by local media. It was held in conjunction with the German Butchers’ Association. This is a blurb about the contest from the butchers’ website: “The winners will receive medals, certificates and trophies as with the quality competitions held by the German Butchers’ Association. These awards may be important tools for you to positively represent and market your products and your company.”
Denials and flat rejections of the crushing environmental impact of meat by those the public has been taught are experts helps explain the reticence of local media in places like Wisconsin to cover the impending crisis. This amplifies the harm done by these institutions.
In any case, I admit to having some satisfaction at the “experts'” efforts to delude the the public. I’ve watched them do this for over twenty years. Though the implications are bleak, it’s nice to know I was right about them.