Day 27 - ...But I Love Beef

I'm in a quandary, friends.  QUANDARY.  

Image: livestrong.com

Image: livestrong.com

I'm almost a month into this experiment, and for the last few weeks have been patting myself on the back for all the efforts and progress I'm making.  But there's one major stone that until now I'd left un-turned, because I couldn't face the consequences.  

I've known that at some point I would have to start doing some research into the environmental impact of meat production, but frankly I've been putting it off because I suspected that the results would be in direct conflict with my love for animal products (particularly dry cured pork and BEEF).  

Well, my suspicion was right.  I've been doing lots of reading, and it's kind of a bummer.  

I know that there are a lot of people in the world who choose vegetarianism for animal rights reasons.  That's never been reason enough for me.  Call me heartless, but I've always felt that meat-eating was a natural part of evolution and felt comfortable with my place in the food chain.  Do I love the sweet faces of cows?  Of course.  Do I love a juicy filet?  Absolutely.  I've never felt conflicted about this.

There are those who abstain from meat for health reasons.  None of my reading up to this point in my life has given me any reason to lay off meat for my health.  Scholars disagree, but I've never seen sufficient evidence to make me want to give it up.  While, like anyone who has watched Food, Inc., I do believe in the potential dangers of factory-farmed meat, I've never been convinced that meat on the whole was a bad idea.

No, my friends.  The statistic that gets me is this: according to the FAO, emissions from the global livestock sector account for 14.5% of the world's greenhouse gas.  Within that 14.5% here's how much responsibility each animal product bears for the total greenhouse gas emissions from the livestock sector:

  • Beef cattle - 41%
  • Dairy cattle - 20%
  • Pigs - 9%
  • Chicken meat and eggs - 8%
  • Small ruminants - 6%
  • Other poultry species and non-edible products - balance 16%

This is tough for me because:

  1. I love beef.
  2. I love cheese.
  3. I love eggs.
  4. I love bacon.
  5. I have friends who run a beautiful farm with beautiful animals living on beautiful pastures, and I fully support their enterprise, as does their beautiful community. 

And let me be very clear: I FREAKING LOVE BEEF.

But the plain truth is this, if I want any of the other things I've changed in my life to count for anything, I've got to significantly reduce my meat, dairy, and egg intake.  And make sure that when I do indulge in animal products, I get them from legit ethical farmers.  

If there are legit ethical farmers in Bangalore, I shall find them.