I hate to be the one to tell you this America but…we eat too much meat. With typical western decadence, we’ve taken a good thing: Meat, and completely crossed the line with it.
Don’t get me wrong. I like meat in all its myriad forms. I find it both scrumtrulescent and jillepsorius. I’m not saying that an 89 cent bacon covered steak and albatross crunch wrap supreme coated in Dorito-flavored fart dust is a bad thing. I’m just saying, everything in moderation, right?
Let’s face it. Our bodies evolved over millions of years as hunter-gatherers, with the emphasis on gatherers. We aren’t really supposed to have access to all-you-can-eat rib buffets, or the abomination that is turducken. For millennia after millennia, our ancestors subsided mostly on bugs and leafy twigs, with the occasional dead rabbit carcass only thrown in sporadically as a special treat after an incredibly grueling and dangerous eight day hunt. Modern agriculture and animal husbandry is, in the grand scheme of things, a brand new phenomenon. Historically, if somebody wanted to eat meat, they had to literally fight for it, and probably pretty often, they’d lose, and be stomped to death by mastodoni, or rodents of unusual size.
Now that we’ve effectively removed ourselves from the food chain however, we don’t even have to go to the grocery store to get our meat anymore. With the magic of the internet, we can have a pallet of unidentifiable breaded and fried meat lumps delivered to our door piping hot and ready to consume, with various dipping sauces, any time we so desire.
This is too easy. Here’s why this is a problem.
Reason the first: Eating meat all the time is unhealthy. Granted, eating nothing but vegetarian or vegan fare isn’t any better. I can’t remember ever seeing a vegetarian and thinking, hey, they look great and not at all feeble or sickly. On the flip side of that though, I can’t recall ever being in a McDonalds or KFC and thinking, hey these people probably don’t have diabetes. So, again, everything in moderation.
Reason the second: Producing the amount of meat we consume every year is bad for the environment. It takes roughly 2-5 acres of pasture land for ONE cow to survive. A cow consumes roughly 30 lbs. of food a day. (humans, by comparison, consume about 3 lbs./day) Smaller livestock animals obviously consume less than cows, but the point remains, raising any animal to maturity requires a huge investment of resources that could be devoted elsewhere if our demand for meat beasts was to decrease. Additionally, besides requiring vast tracts of land that could be devoted to producing more efficient agricultural food stuffs, all of those tasty walking happy-meals have another detrimental effect on the world.
They make smelly poop-farts. This isn’t a joke. Domestic live-stock like cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, and camels produce a huge amount of methane in their farts and shit. Methane is a greenhouse gas, which contributes to dangerous climate change. This is actually the second highest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the world, behind only the burning of fossil fuels.
If we were to decrease the amount of cattle we raise however, not only would we decrease the amount of greenhouse gas emissions, but we could actually reclaim a lot of land currently used for pasture, and replant forests, which soak up and store carbon, the other greenhouse gas, while creating oxygen, you know that thing we need to live.
If the cost of potentially saving the world is that beef gets a little rarer and more expensive, so be it says I. I like a rare steak almost as much as I like a bad pun.
Unfortunately, I can see the potential for a lot of disagreement from people who aren’t going to appreciate giving up their meat-heavy diets. “So what if we’re unsustainably raping our world for the sake of one dollar cheeseburgers?” they’ll say. “Cheeseburgs are a tasty-treat, and if you don’t think so, you’re un-American.”
That brings me to my last reason why all the meat we eat is a problem.
Reason the third: Cheeseburgs ARE a tasty treat, but you don’t deserve them. You haven’t earned them. Our ancestors got to eat only what they killed themselves. That’s how it should still be. I’ve seen Mistress eat a bathtub-sized bucket of fried chicken, and then cry when our cat killed a bird in the back yard. What a hypocrite. And you know damn well, she’s not alone.
Me, i’m no animal lover. I grew up around farms, and I grew up hunting. I’ve killed and butchered my share of pigs, sheep, deer, poultry, hobos, etc. If I want to munch on a dead beast, I have no problems making that beast dead to do it. If I’m in the mood for some condor egg omelets or a panda pot-pie, i’ll stab a panda in the eye to get it. There are plenty of people who wouldn’t feel comfortable doing that however. So let’s make it a requirement.
I think if you want to be able to eat meat, you’ve got to earn it. You’ve got to kill the beast you’re going to eat. This way, those bloodthirsty folk who really want to eat meat are forced to recognize that their snack comes at a price. In order for you to enjoy that wonderful steak, a creature had to be born, live, and die. If you’re not willing to look Bambi in the eye before putting a bullet in his brain or an arrow in his guts, maybe eating meat just isn’t for you.
I’m guessing there would be a lot more vegetarians.