Industrial animal agriculture and meat production and consumption have become central issues of our time. Between 1950 and 2007, per capita meat consumption in the U.S. increased an astounding 78 pounds per person per year and world meat consumption is expected to double by 2050. The health consequences from the overconsumption of meat—obesity, coronary heart disease, and cancer—are now well documented.
The 2006 United Nation publication, Livestock’s Long Shadow articulated the environmental impact of industrial animal production—and a new study further estimates that livestock farming on its own—disregarding all other human activity—could negatively tip the balance for climate change and habitat destruction by mid-century.
Between the serious environmental and public health and food safety issues associated with Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs)—known for their disregard for animal welfare, misuse of pharmaceuticals, pollution and mismanagement of waste, and concentrated corporate ownership; the importance of alternatives such as sustainable ranching; and the debate as to whether we should eat meat at all, lies an important conversation worth having regarding our role in meat’s global and local impact. Read more