in Meat-Eating Stampede
Has Surged Five-Fold
Wastes Posing Serious Threats
to Health & Environment
| Compiled by Badpuppy's GayToday
From Worldwatch Institute Reports
In backyards across the United States, the 4th of July holiday was one of the biggest meat-eating days of the year. Moreover, Americans are eating more meat than ever before-the average American consumes nearly twice his or her weight in meat each year.
As Americans throw more hamburgers, hotdogs and chicken wings on the grill, they are leading the way in a global trend towards increased meat consumption, reports Brian Halweil, author of a new Worldwatch study on global meat consumption and production trends. "Worldwide, meat production has surged nearly fivefold since 1950, growing from 44 million tons to 211 million tons in 1997," says Halweil.
The growing consumption of meat-particularly large quantities of high-fat meat, dairy products and eggs-is spurring a global epidemic of lifestyle diseases such as heart attacks, strokes and cancers, as well as creating new pressures on land and water resources, contributing to water pollution and global warming.
Today, people share the Earth's resources with nearly 1 billion pigs, 1.3 billion cows, 1.8 billion sheep and goats, and 13.5 billion chickens-over two chickens for each man, woman and child on the planet. In a world where an estimated one in every six people goes hungry each day, the politics of meat consumption are increasingly heated. Meat production depends on feeding nearly 40 percent of global grain to animals, creating competition for grain between affluent meat eaters and the world's poor.
Global meat consumption is highly concentrated, with the United States, China, Brazil and the European Union consuming over 60 percent of the world's beef, over 70 percent of the world's poultry, and over 80 percent of the world's pork. Rising affluence has allowed people throughout the world to alter their diets to include more meat. Over the last decade, per capita consumption of beef, pork and chicken has doubled in the world's poorer nations-though it is still just one-third the level in industrial nations.
Massive quantities of waste produced by livestock and poultry threaten rivers, lakes, and other waterways. In the United States, waste generated by livestock is 130 times that produced by humans. A single 50,000-acre hog farm under construction in Utah will produce more waste than all of Los Angeles.
"The current scale of meat consumption also threatens human health," Halweil warns, citing the links to a variety of lifestyle diseases, ranging from cardiovascular deterioration to many types of cancer.
"Reducing global meat consumption even slightly among the affluent offers win-win solutions to a range of pressing problems," said Halweil, "from easing the health care burden to reducing pressures on rangelands to making grain more affordable to the world's chronically hungry."
Visit World Watch Institute's web site: www.worldwatch.org