I eat meat. I’m not apologizing for this, or bragging about it. I’m just telling you. I have sharp front canines for ripping and tearing flesh and my body needs more protein that I feel comfortable eating without meat as a part of my diet. There are problems with this.
It’s calorically expensive to produce meat. It takes a lot of land. There are ethical considerations.
I know all these things, but never once have I considered giving up meat. I have considered learning how to hunt, or purchasing a fishing license and devoting my summer hours to catching enough fish for our household.
Humans evolved to eat meat. Babies on vegan diets die. Small children on vegetarian diets don’t do as well in brain or body grown as their omnivorous counter parts. Do we eat to much? Americans do. The rest of the world? Not so much.
But the problem I have with meat is the meat we waste. I’ve eaten cows and pigs and chickens. Fish of all kinds. The occasional deer, a raccoon once, and ants on a dare.
This is a tiny fraction of the world’s meat. I’ve never eaten a cricket, or bear, or squirell, and I hear all of you out there making ewww faces, but here’s the thing. We waste meat.
2.7 MILLION animals from shelters are euthanized EVERY YEAR. And the carcasses are discarded. We chop down trees (that we need) to create grass land to graze some seriously large animals. and we throw out millions of pounds of meat.
What I wrote up there will horrify a lot of people, because we have the luxury of choice, or we think we do, and we’ve chosen not to eat animals that we classify as pets. I get it. I even respect it, but is it the right choice? Is it the smart and sustainable choice?
We also don’t eat bugs. Bugs are plentiful and they, unlike the large mammals that we eat, are not calorically expensive. They eat plants or plants and other bugs. Nutritionally, crickets have half the fat and a third more protein than beef. Environmentally, crickets need only about two pounds of feed per pound of usable meat.
I’m sure that this post has horrified the majority of you, but as more and more countries achieve economic stability the demand for meat will rise. More people will want meat that we don’t have the room to farm. Where will that meat come from? Many argue that we shouldn’t eat meat at all. That eating meat is ethically and environmentally irresponsible. Those people are not wrong, but I’m an omnivore. And so are you, whatever dietary choices you make.