The Cost of Eating Meat

Here’s the thing:  June 24-30 is animal abuse awareness week. I did not know this and therefore am unprepared, content wise, emotionally and mentally. I’ve been thinking about covering this topic for a while, but haven’t really known where to start or how to get across everything that I want to. Since there is no time like the present, I will try to do my best to get some decent posts out about this subject.  I’m not vegetarian and I am certainly not vegan. I wish I could be. If no one cooked for me or if only I cooked for myself then I could do it no problem. Yeah, sometimes I would crave it, but I’ve craved donuts for years now and will power is an amazing thing. I can’t force the people I live with to rearrange their lives around mine. At restaurants there are very, very few options for vegetarians and no options for vegans. My favorite dishes I can no longer eat, but I can’t replace it with anything that is hardly considered a meal. If I’m lucky I can find a boring quesadilla. Sometimes I’m lucky and I can just get my favorite salad with an interesting dressing and just ask for no meat, but sometimes that even goes wrong and I find little bits of chicken from where they forgot and at the last second picked the pieces out.

I think people who eat meat are selfish. No matter what the reason is. I’m selfish. And I hate it. I hate being selfish, but as long as I choose to pick people’s feelings over lives then I guess that is a hate I’ll have to try not to choke myself with.

With that being said I’m not going to be your traditional vegetarian/vegan. I’d like to be, but A) that would make me a hypocrite because I eat meat and B) it’s highly unrealistic for me to expect that no matter what logic I try to show you or pictures I show you, you will decide to never touch another animal product as long as you should live. Instead, I’m going to beg you to give me just a few more minutes of your time, so that I can share with you some reasons that you should just eat LESS meat if not give it up entirely.

Money Cost. There is different variations to these experiments. What city you’re shopping in, how much you eat, etc. I didn’t use any pro-vegetarian sites for this argument because I figure they have a reason to be biased. Some said you could save money and some said it was more expensive. I think the deciding factor is exactly what you’re buying. That fake meat stuff, or dairy substitutes I think are what make a vegetarian diet more expensive. Also, if you think of how much money you could end up spending on hospital bills due to unhealthy habits then there really is no comparison.

When comparing just fruits, vegetables, and nuts to meat, the savings are pretty noticeable.

Cost/lb Corn- .043

Soybeans-.093

Wheat-.086

Peanuts-.021

Pork-.069

Beef-1.228

Broilers-.471

Milk-.206

http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/bitstream/55529/2/lusk%20-%20current.pdf

http://20somethingfinance.com/cost-of-vegetarian-diet/

Humanitarian Cost.

Twenty million people will die this year as a result of malnutrition. If Americans reduced their intake of meat by 10%, 100 million more people could be fed by the land that was freed. Only 20% of the corn grown in the U.S. is eaten by people. The other 80% is fed to livestock. Ninety-five percent of the oats grown in the U.S. is fed to livestock. By cycling grain through livestock, 90% of protein is wasted. Forty thousand  pounds of potatoes can be grown on one acre, but only 250 pounds of beef can be produced on that same acre and fifty-six percent of our land is devoted to beef production. Sixteen pounds of grain and soybeans are needed to produce one pound of edible flesh from feedlot beef.  Just to point out, grass-fed beef still takes land to grow, but they feed off the land that they are on instead of needing additional land to grow grain.

Percentage of US farmland devoted to beef production: 56
http://www.consumercide.com/js/index.php/food-supply/39-necessarily-vegetarian/379-how-to-win-an-argument-with-a-meat-eater

Health Costs

Vegetarians have lower rates of heart disease heart disease, colorectal, ovarian, and breast cancers, diabetes, obesity, hypertension (high blood pressure). This could be attributed to the fact that the vegetarian diet usually involves a diet low in fat and high in fiber. These affects could be negated when their diet is high in fat or includes excessive amounts of fatty snack foods or fried foods.

There are many benefits of eating meat. It does have things that we need, but these aren’t things that can’t be found non-meat food.  For the most part, these things include protein, zinc, and B vitamins. All of which can be found in several different kinds of vegetables.

Calcium and Vitamin D deficiencies can arise in a vegan diet, but surprisingly study participants did not suffer from osteoporosis which typically related to inadequate intakes of these micro-nutrients.

Not only are vegetables healthier in way of nutrients, but they also don’t require waste or antibiotics to be streamed into our water supply. Which can then lead to our food supply. Ever hear of a recall of produce because E. Coli? You can thank the meat industry. Because the animals are always crammed together, diseases run rampant throughout the feedlots. Antibiotics are used. Those antibiotics are in our food and water supply and are now contributing to antibiotic resistant strings of bacteria.

Environmental Costs.

Worldwide, over 284 million tons of meat was consumed. As Americans, we eat 8 ounces a day which is twice the global average. As Americans, we also represent about 5% of the world population, but as we process and consume 10 billion animals a year, we are representing about 15% of the meat consumption.

About 30% of the ice-free land is dedicated to the meat industry and gives off 1/5 of the greenhouse gases which is more than transportation.

Or, you could also say 2.2 pounds of beef is responsible for the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the average European car every 155 miles, and burns enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for nearly 20 days.

Farm animals produce 16.6 billion tons of excrement per year. That is more than a million pounds per second (that’s 60 times as much as is produced by the world’s human population.) For the UN, animal agriculture is a leading case of water pollution.

Farm animals and water needed to irrigate the crops to feed them are responsible for consuming 240 trillion gallons per year or 7.5 million gallons per second.

It takes more than 11 times as much fossil fuel to make one calorie of animal protein as it does to make one calorie of plant protein.

The meat industry is also responsible for soil erosion, 40 billion tons per year to be exact.

http://www.alternet.org/environment/137737/13_breathtaking_effects_of_cutting_back_on_meat/

All is not lost though. Click here for some solutions.

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4 responses to “The Cost of Eating Meat

  1. Thanks for the great summary of reasons to not eat meat (and all your recent animal farming info too). I’m vegetarian, it started because I didn’t think the fishing industry is sustainable; secondly because it costs too much to feed myself and my family on wholly organic, free range or sustainable meats/fish; thirdly because it is possible to get your dietary needs elsewhere so why contribute to the problem if I don’t need to; and lastly I stay vegetarian because I just keep learning more about how and where our food comes from, and prefer not to eat meat/fish as a result! It’s very difficult to make that choice though, and I think as long as you become aware of where your food comes from, that’s a start. Your moral choices based on what you care about, or what you are able to do, are yours alone to make.

    • Thank you. I’m reading a book called the Ominore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan and he does a good job talking about this subject and he even explains why not everyone should be on a vegetarian diet other than the usual ‘we can’t live without meat’ argument. He makes good points, but for now more people need to balance out the industry by not eating meat. I’ll be learning to cook vegetarian at home, so when I come to my aunt’s house for school I can cook for myself and not burden her with having to make a seperate meal. I’d like to transition in a month or so. I think we have similar feelings on why we want to do it. Thanks for your thoughts!

  2. Thanks, I might have a look for that book, sounds interesting! My favourite vegetarian food is Indian style, so much variety 🙂 Good luck with your new cooking adventure, and thanks for your informative blogs 🙂

    • I don’t have a favorite vegan style. There is no restuarants that serve vegan or vegetarian food. My first step was to start eating meat at restuarants because I knew my mom could get ‘more humane’ stuff. It’s very difficult. Thanks I will try to have fun. And your welcome, but thank you for reading.

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