The Overconsumption Of Meat-Based Diets

Decent Essays
Animal agriculture is a largely unsustainable system because “the mass amount of feed grain demanded by intensive livestock production not only further contributes to the health risks associated with nitrate and pesticide leaching and contamination, but also robs food grain from the poorest people in the world” (Gunderson, 2015, p. 106). The most poverty-stricken people on the planet are suffering from lack of enough food (Gold, 2004, p. 53). In western societies, it is not the lack of food that is the problem – it is our tendency to over-consume it. The world’s wealthiest suffer from disease and death due to the overconsumption of “too much of the wrong kinds of food” – red meat (Gold, 2004, p. 53). Those who find themselves in the middle…show more content…
Today, meat-based diets are placed on a higher echelon than grain and vegetable-based diets. Western diet and culture are responsible for the increase of global meat consumption. In the United States, the diet is deemed as the “American way of life” (Gunderson, 2015, p.102). It is estimated that the total global meat demand will grow to 327 million tons by 2020 (Gold, 2004, p. 9). As more people latch on to this lifestyle, the global trend “towards concentrated animal feeding operations is expected to increase in both developed and developing regions” (Gunderson, 2015, p.101). Consumerist society finds itself in an unhealthy cycle, where “increased meat production perpetuates corporate livestock production as it provides artificially cheap meat for the consumer, and the consumer demand in turn fuels the industrial animal production system” (Gunderson, 2015, p. 103). In order to meet this demand, animal agriculture operations such as hog farms are spreading rapidly all over the country, especially in the state of North…show more content…
By doing so, there will be less production occurring at the large-scale level. This gives small family farms a chance to compete and sustain their livelihoods. Many would argue that eating little to no meat is an unattainable solution. Some may argue that it is a futile attempt if the “current trend towards a high-meat diet is inescapable” (Gold, 2004, p. 10). This is a defeatist mentality that only contributes to the current racist and unsustainable system. Adopting a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle is “a healthy and ecologically sound” alternative to meat consumption and production (Gunderson, 2015, p.105). By choosing a plant-based diet we are choosing human and animal well-being over the satisfaction of our taste buds. It is essential for us, as a consumerist society, to make smarter choices about what we support. Adopting a vegetarian or vegan diet is a major step we can take towards ending this injustice. Essentially, “the push for a healthy, plant-based, and sustainable food system is fastened to the push for a healthy and just social system” (Gunderson, 2015, p.105). It is important to consider that our actions here can seriously impact people and the environment in a different part of the
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