Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Do not consume the flesh of tetrapods

Well, maybe birds are okay, it isn't entirely clear. The horrific harm to the planet from human meat consumption doesn't seem to be motivating very many people to stop it, but maybe the risk of death will.

With a total of more than 7.5 million person years of observation, further analyses by Etemadi and colleagues (doi:10.1136/bmj.j1957) now show an association between high intakes of red and processed meat and elevated total mortality and mortality from most major causes: cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and hepatic, renal, and respiratory diseases.
As the BMJ editorialist goes on to remind you of what you already know or should know -- even though you have been carefully avoiding thinking about it -- 30% of the earth's land surface is now pasture, or devoted to growing animal feed, which means:

Damage to planetary health includes depletion of aquifers15 (producing 1 kg of meat protein requires more than 110 000 L of water22); production of 37% of anthropogenic methane (with 23 times the global warming potential of CO2) and 65% of anthropogenic nitrous oxide (almost 300 times the potential of CO2); groundwater pollution; and 64% of anthropogenic ammonia emissions, which contribute significantly to acid rain and acidification of ecosystems.15 The combination of rainforest destruction for livestock and the production of greenhouse gases by livestock contributes more to climate change than do fossil fuels used for transport.15
There is also antibiotic resistance, recombinant influenza (from pig farms), and human hunger -- 95% of soybean is fed to animals. Contrary to common belief, our hunter-gatherer ancestors prior to the last ice age consumed much less meat than we do. So did people in Europe right up until the 20th Century. Our meat based diet is unprecedented in human history. So just stop it.

5 comments:

robin andrea said...

Interestingly, I read just the other day that China has agreed to buy TONS of beef from the US, for the first time in many years since a mad cow outbreak. There is simply no stopping the consumption at this point. That would mean people would have to wake up and see the planetary destruction that their crazy diets have. Last time I checked, waking up to the real world is not on anybody's agenda.

Don Quixote said...

Apropos of previous columns this week: Trump is going DOWN. He will be impeached.

But that still will leave us in a world of shit with a president pence. Can't bring myself to capitalize such names...deserving of no respect, having gotten where they are on the coattails of a pathologically lying racist uber-insecure megalomaniacal madman...

Anonymous said...


I've always been fascinated by the lack of media coverage of the global warming gasses created by the meat industry by those people and institutions that push the anthropogenic global warming narrative.

Al Gore et al focuses almost solely on carbon dioxide.

The only explanation possible would be that there is no political power or money in attacking the meat industry as there is in fossil fuels.

Cervantes said...

Actually anonymous that isn't true. Climate scientists and advocates are very much aware of the contribution of meat production to global warming, due to deforestation, use of fossil fuels in the industry, and yes, cow farts. (Much of that is in fact carbon dioxide but also methane.) I don't know how much Al Gore specifically has talked about it, but plenty of people do.

There is most definitely not any political power or money in attacking fossil fuels, quite the opposite.

Anonymous said...


Mr. Cervantes,

My comment was about the lack of MEDIA coverage. And there really hasn't been much.

There's a TON of money in attacking fossil fuels if you're invested in alternative energy and getting the federal government to fund them (think Solendra).

And Al Gore is invested to the hilt.

And then there's the federal handouts to universities for alternative energy.

Yes, it's hip, it's K00L, and the money has been flowing.