Less meat, more life

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Ecowatch -

WHY are gov­ern­ments not jump­ing up and down about meat?

We are told to save en­ergy, car pool and re­cy­cle to save the en­vi­ron­ment, but de­spite the harm­ful ef­fects of our meat eat­ing on the earth (and our health), why is there a si­lence?

Some ex­perts be­lieve the is­sue is too con­tro­ver­sial to raise to vot­ers. For in­stance, last month, for­mer US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama ad­mit­ted that all US po­lit­i­cal par­ties work to pro­tect food pro­duc­ers.

“Peo­ple, I think, are more re­sis­tant to the idea of govern­ment or bu­reau­crats telling them what to eat,” he told the New York Times.

Pow­er­ful in­dus­try and po­lit­i­cal in­ter­ests pre­vail.

The star­va­tion of poli­cies on this is­sue stands in stark con­trast to fat fund­ing for the meat in­dus­try – in the Euro­pean Union for in­stance, each cow gets a sub­sidy of US$190 (RM810)!

The other prob­lem is aware­ness. A multi-coun­try Ip­sos MORI poll com­mis­sioned by Chatham House found most peo­ple were not aware of the im­pact of meat on cli­mate change, be­liev­ing trans­port was a far more sig­nif­i­cant fac­tor.

Cur­rently, the mid­dle class in many coun­tries eat twice as much meat as deemed healthy, Chatham House says. Over­con­sump­tion is con­tribut­ing to obe­sity, heart dis­ease, stroke, some can­cers and type 2 di­a­betes.

Meatless Mon­days?

If all Amer­i­cans had a “Meatless Mon­day”, it would be the equiv­a­lent of all cars in the coun­try be­ing switched to hy­brids, re­searchers at the Univer­sity of Chicago have cal­cu­lated.

The idea of a “Meatless Mon­day” hasn’t re­ally hit Malaysians yet. But else­where, amid the fail­ure of gov­ern­ments to act, or­di­nary peo­ple are join­ing the cam­paign. Ex-Bea­tle Paul McCart­ney has helped pro­mote it in Bri­tain.

In Hong Kong, one in­di­vid­ual, David Ye­ung, has been mak­ing head­way in a David vs. Go­liath bat­tle against meat con­sump­tion. His “Green Mon­day” is well­known – about 1,000 restau­rants and 800 schools have joined, of­fer­ing veg­e­tar­ian op­tions on Mon­day.

One govern­ment tak­ing ac­tion is China. Re­al­is­ing that the fu­ture of cli­mate change de­pends on the di­ets of or­di­nary Chi­nese, their govern­ment is ad­vo­cat­ing cut­ting meat con­sump­tion by 50%.

Join­ing this bold step for­ward is Wild Aid and Hol­ly­wood celebri­ties Arnold Sch­warzeneg­ger and James Cameron. The cam­paign’s tagline: Less Meat, Less Heat, More Life.

“Flex­i­tar­i­an­ism” – skip­ping meat now and then – rather than veg­e­tar­i­an­ism is an op­tion pro­moted.

The Hu­mane So­ci­ety In­ter­na­tional’s Alexan­dra Clark ad­vo­cates “com­pas­sion­ate eat­ing” with the “three R’s”: “re­duc­ing” or “re­plac­ing” an­i­mal prod­ucts, and “re­fin­ing” di­ets by choos­ing prod­ucts that are eth­i­cally or en­vi­ron­men­tally bet­ter.

Our high meat-eat­ing habits are harm­ing our planet earth and our health – we need to shift our di­ets. With the pol­i­tics around the meat in­dus­try, it looks like or­di­nary cit­i­zens will have to lead the way here.

— AFP

Our ap­petite for meat is harm­ing our health and planet.

— Filepic

In­dus­trial cat­tle farms of­ten have crammed con­di­tions. An­tibi­otics and growth hor­mones are usu­ally given to pre­vent dis­eases and fat­ten the an­i­mals up.

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