It’s been a while since I mentioned the reality of the effects of our huge meat production line, but a story in this mornings papers has made me decide to bring it back into focus here.
The Guardians article “More Wealth, more meat. How China’s rise spells trouble.” highlights a very simple yet enlightening fact about our meat eating environmental economy.
To produce a kilogram of beef farmers need 8kg of feed; for pork about 6kg; for chicken 2kg. Worldwide, 700m tonnes of grain are needed to fatten animals each year.
When you think about that it raises many questions. Food prices are rising, many people around the world are starving. Now what would feed more people? 1kg of beef or 8kg of grain. The answer is self explanatory in my opinion and although I am simplifying using the above quote the facts are not much more complicated.
Our meat industry is hugely inefficient when it comes to the amount of food we get out of it compared to the amount of energy put in and the environmental impact created is also hugely underestimated and misunderstood.
The impact of the global meat industry with regards to green house gasses is larger than the worlds car or automobile footprint. Yes, that’s right. The meat industry contributes more green house gasses to our atmosphere than the total impact of cars, motorbikes and lorries.
It’s definitely something to think about.
And as the worlds population rises at an unprecedented rate, so does the impact of the meat industry.
On average Americans eat 129% more meat than the Chinese; Europeans consume 83% more. But in China’s case the fear is not of individual consumption, but of the multiples of scale and speed of 1.3 billion people growing richer at a rate of more than 10% a year.
I haven’t even touched on world food prices and the treatment of said animals, but I believe, pardon the pun, that there is enough food for thought above.