If you eat meat (or dairy products), there is a lot you can do to minimize the damage to yourself, your family, the planet and the animal. A new book on this subject (Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer) has gotten a lot of attention, and I have included some key links below.
Despite some controversy, there is widespread agreement that meat produced by factory farms causes a lot of problems, such as astounding energy inefficiency, vast amounts of toxic waste, production of antibiotic-resistant microbes that pose a threat to us, severe pollution, and shocking cruelty and suffering of animals on a massive scale.
And, there is growing evidence that red meat (especially beef, also pork) is unhealthy (see The Real Cost of Red Meat: does it boost your risk of cancer, heart disease, & diabetes?).
What can we do about it? The best answer is simple: Cut back on meat consumption, especially red meat. Even a small decrease will help. And, if you decide to include meat in your diet, at least try to buy meat (and dairy) raised on sustainable non-factory farms. Yes, it will cost more, but you can offset the increase in cost by just eating less meat. Go for quality over quantity.
Here are very interesting and helpful resources to check out:
- Food choices.
- NPR interview with Jonathan Safran Foer.
- New Yorker article.
- Excerpt from Eating Animals.
- Additional resources.
- Lessmeatatarianism and flexitarianism.
In closing, here is a quote from Jonathan Safran Foer:
Two friends are ordering lunch. One says, “I’m in the mood for a burger,” and orders it. The other says, “I’m in the mood for a burger,” but remembers that there are things more important to him than what he is in the mood for at any given moment, and orders something else. Who is the sentimentalist?