Reasons to eat less meat

Production of meat takes lots of waterSome people choose to eat less meat because they love animals.  They can’t imagine killing them and cooking them up for dinner.  To be fair, I always had an aversion to veal, lamb and rabbit.  It was my thought that small, furry animals should be spared.  To this end, I definitely think no animal deserves the kind of treatment bestowed on them by furriers, seal clubbers and folks who would torture them for profit.  However, since I grew up on a small farm, I did eat pork and beef and chicken, among other meats.  My idea of farming was pure and based on need and sustainability.  I wasn’t privy to what went on “out there” at larger factory farms, and I chose to block that out for all the years I ate meat.

When I decided to stop eating meat (except fish, for whom I have no sympathy), it was about the environment and not the treatment of the animals.  I knew that factory farms created pollution due to the large amounts of animal waste, fertilizers and pesticides.  I knew the use of antibiotics and bovine growth hormones was prevalent, neither of which I want in my own body.  Also, with huge meat processing plants, the  odds were higher for incidences of mad cow disease or salmonella.

Meat production takes lots of waterBut there is yet another reason to avoid eating meat: water.  It may seem like there is an unlimited amount of water in the world, but that’s not exactly true.  Although water is a renewable resource, there is only so much of it available at any given time.  Where there were 1 billion people on the planet all wanting to take a shower at the same time, that may have been fine.  But when 6.5 billion people all want to do laundry at the same time, things get a bit worse.  What happens when 10 billion people all want access to the same water?  You see what I’m getting at.

In order to get one pound of beef to your grocery store shelf, it takes 1,500 gallons of water.  To put a hamburger on your plate at a restaurant, it takes 637 gallons of water.   At the very least, you should switch to chicken, which only takes 287 gallons of water per pound to produce.

If we all voluntarily make these choices while we still have a choice, we won’t have to pay a painful price later.

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