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Why We Should Eat Less Meat Essay

  • Submitted by: tommie1
  • on December 6, 2011
  • Category: Social Issues
  • Length: 2,997 words

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Below is an essay on "Why We Should Eat Less Meat" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

There are over 15 billion farm animals in the world, and together they weigh more than 1.5 times the total weight of the world’s human population (Leckie, 1999).   The United States alone has 9 billion farm animals, which together weigh 5 times as much as the US’s human population (Pimentel & Pimentel, 2003).   Americans eat 10 billion animals every year, with a family of four averaging 120 chickens, four pigs and one cow (Walker, Rhubart-Berg, McKenzie, Kelling, & Lawrence, 2005).   At an average of 124 kg of meat per person per year, the United States leads way in meat consumption (Fiala, 2007), but other countries are catching up – meat consumption increased by 300% between 1950 and 1994 (Leckie, 1999), doubled from 1992 to 2007, and is set to be 72% higher in 2030 than in 2000 (Fiala, 2007).   The increase in meat consumption can be attributed to population growth (worldwide population is doubling every 40 years (Kendall & Pimentel, 1994)) as well as to increasing per capita rates of consumption as people in developing countries become wealthier (McMichael, Powles, Butler, & Uauy, 2007; Steinfeld, Gerger, Wassenaar, Rosales, & de Haan, 2006).   Along with this overall increase in meat consumption, there is a rapidly growing industrialization in the meat production industry to meet that expanding demand, and an increased concentration of ownership of the industry (with a concomitant increase in the political influence of the industry owners).   Walker and Lawrence (2004, p. 175) point out that in North America “Only four companies now control eighty-one percent of the beef market, fifty-nine percent of the pork market , and fifty percent of poultry production.”   Industrialization of meat production entails widespread use of CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations), which increase efficiency (Fiala, 2007) but also raise a number of concerns that will be explored in this paper (among them Walker and Lawrence’s (2004) contention that its...

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