The Cold Cut Truth Behind Meat

Section Editor: Makayla Powell

Since the dawn of mankind millions of years ago, humans have done what they have had to do to survive. Over the course of history, the means of getting what was needed has changed with the times, including the food. Meat has always been considered an essential part to a healthy diet but population growth and high demand has caused a radical change in the way meat is produced. This need for mass production of meat has resulted in a backlash on the earth that is constantly denied and ignored, simply because humans are not willing to make a small change in their lifestyle to preserve the planet.

As is the case with any animal, it needs room to roam. Farm animals need pastures or fields to wander for the short time that they are here, which means that forestry must be cleared to allow room for the animals and their food. Raising animals for food occupies 30 percent of the earth’s land mass, which is approximately the same size as Asia. This elimination of trees does not help the negative effects of greenhouse gases either, seeing as the trees that would convert the harmful gases to oxygen are being destroyed, because obviously that burger is more important than being able to breathe. This is devastating to not only the trees and the land, but the wild animals that live in those areas that are being destroyed. The habitats of these animals are being destroyed to create room for the livestock, which lessens biodiversity in the area and risks extinction of species that have already been put in danger.cow.jpg

It is also important to not neglect the marine side of the meat industry, fish. Overfishing is an extreme issue in today’s environmental struggle but it is also one of the most overlooked. Depleting the oceans of fish creates disruptions in sensitive ecosystems and can end up killing many more animals and fish then intended. The oceans cover 71 percent of the earth’s surface but only 1.6 percent is protected fishing area with set quotas. That essentially leaves the oceans wildlife unprotected from abuse and overuse which should be unnerving, but is constantly disregarded. If the oceans were to continue diminishing at the same rate they currently are then they will be exhausted of all resources by 2048. This may seem too far in the future for concern, but humans have already caused a decrease of 29 percent in the species of fish normally consumed.

When all these effects of the meat industry are combined with the many other forms of man-made destruction on earth, the planet hardly stands a chance against human consumption. That is, unless, people decide that the earth is worth saving. If every American was to omit one serving of chicken per week from their diet it would save the same amount of carbon dioxide as not using 500,000 cars. Cutting out or even simply reducing the amount of meat people eat seems to be an easy solution, yet it is still such a controversial topic. People should be aware of what they are supporting when they eat meat, so now only time can tell whether or not people will become more open to a different, more practical method of conservation.chicken-overcrowded-grower-house-01.jpg

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