As part of a very gradual process of repentance, I've decided to cut down on how much meat I eat. The Guardian had an article a few days ago asking Is it time we all gave up meat? and this contained a link to a document on reducing meat consumption from Compassion in world farming. But, in brief, I think we in the West ought to cut down significantly on meat consumption for these reasons:
- High meat consumption is bad news for the world's poor. People in developing countries are starving to death while their fields are being used to grow food for our livestock. Considering the amount of protein for human consumption per acre of farmland, it is a remarkably inefficient use of land first to grow food for animals, and then to eat the animals. If we didn't need so much land in developing countries to feed our cows, the people there might be able to use it to grow food for themselves.
- High meat consumption requires unnaturally cruel farming of animals. I don't want to get too sentimental or soppy about this, but if I had any animals I would never want them to be treated the way they are treated in factory farming. So I don't want my money to be used to pay other people to treat animals in that way either.
- Cows smell. And this contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions.
To that could be added the fact that we don't need to eat meat at all in order to have a nutritious diet, that too much meat is not good for you, and that eating less meat saves money.