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Meat Industry Causing Increased Levels of Pollution: Time to Go Demitarian?

Meat Industry Causing Increased Levels of Pollution: Time to Go Demitarian?

Cold turkey does not bode well for everyone. Well, how about half a turkey to start with and slowly going turkey free?

According to the latest United Nations study, “Our Nutrient World” (Download the original report), the process of manufacturing meat for cheaper prices has led to increased levels of air and water pollution. Current day meat industry practices are creating dead zones in seas, causing toxic algal blooms and killing fish, while some are threatening bees, amphibians and sensitive ecosystems.

The European horse meat scandal uncovered that a large demand for meat was part of the reason the undocumented trade was happening.

Detriment to the Environment

The report states that “Unless action is taken, increases in pollution and per capita consumption of energy and animal products will exacerbate nutrient losses, pollution levels and land degradation, further threatening the quality of our water, air and soils, affecting climate and biodiversity.”

The report further outlines ways in which agriculture can be modified to reduce harm to the environment.

Becoming Demitarians

While agricultural reform requires intergovernmental cooperation, there is an individual based action that can be beneficial as well. Professor Mark Sutton, co-author of the study suggests that meat eaters become ‘demitarians’, consuming meat scarcely and only when needed. Says Professor Sutton, “Portion size is key. Many portions are too big, more than you want to eat. Think about a change of culture that says, ‘I like the taste, but I don’t need so much of it.”

At a recent United Nations event, the chef served guests only one third of the meat traditionally used and filled the rest of the appetites with vegetables. More than 90% of the guests did not even notice and were equally satisfied with their meals.

So, what do you think? Are you ready to declare yourself a deimtarian?

 Image Source: David Herholz/Flickr

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