Eat only the Meat from a Happy Animal | Part II
There are now concerns about the way animals are reared, brought to the slaughterhouse, and how they are butchered. It is commented often that in order to feed modern society’s enormous appetite for meat, animals endure unimaginable suffering in conditions of extreme filth, crowding and confinement. Chickens are packed twenty to a cage; hogs are kept in concrete stalls so narrow they can never turn around. As a result of popular protests, several countries have implemented laws to ensure that the animals are shown kindness and attention even when they are killed.
In some countries law to exhibit the cadaver or raw meat pieces openly prohibits it.
We can look at the ethical argument against eating meat from another angle. There we deal with the environmental aspect as well as the problem of world hunger. For each pound of meat produced, meat animals are fed anywhere from five to fifteen pounds of vegetable protein. That can be taken as an unconscionable practice in a world where many go hungry. We also get saddening statistics: Whereas one-sixth acre of land can feed a vegetarian for a year, over three acres are required to provide the grain needed to raise a year’s worth of meat for the average meat-eater. Quite often those acres are of the forestland. The water consumption also is shocking. The meat industry accounts for half of US water consumption—
2500 gallons per pound of beef, compared to 25 gallons per pound of wheat.
Polluting fossil fuels are another serious environmental hazard caused by our meat-eating habit. On top of it all we have to consider livestock manure, the residues of antibiotics, and synthetic hormones flowing into our drinking water sources.
The numbers of the animals and fowls kept for meat will shock us. Estimates say that the consumption of meat has risen fivefold globally in four decades and the World Bank prediction is that it will go up another fifty percent by 2020. Already there are more than twice as many chickens on the planet as humans, plus a billion pigs, 1.3 billion cows, and 1.8 billion sheep and goats—most of which eat more food than they produce. As intensive animal farming increases to cope, more land, water and pesticides are being used to grow the soya, grain and other feed for the creature’s need. A dangerous warning was given by Porritt, former director of Friends of the Earth and co-chairman of Greenpeace: “It is harder for developing countries to feed their people because growing food for animals is much less efficient than cultivating crops to eat.” What we can conscientiously do is stop eating meat to save the environment.