Now that United Nations and other reputable research bodies such as the Worldwatch Institute, 2 Washington, DC have all confirmed that the Livestock and meat industry, in particular, are responsible for an average of 35% of global greenhouse gas emissions, there is little doubt that sooner or later, the meat industry will have to face the wrath of the general population. So far, very few have realized the direct link between meat consumption and global warming, meat, and chronic diseases, and consequent health care costs.
|Livestock’s Greenhouse Gas emissions (% of total global GHGs)|
|As per UN’s 2006 IPCC report, not including many key elements1||18%|
|As per Worldwatch Institute’s October 2009 report including all key elements2||51%|
|Average Livestock emissions based on the above 2 scientific reports||35%|
British health officials and researchers have just endorsed a public appeal to cut meat consumption in Britain by at least 30% in view of unhealthy levels of meat consumption and its impact on carbon emissions and public health. The average meat intake in Britain per week in men is reported at 970 grams and in women 550 grams. The report said that a 30% reduction in meat intake will save at least 18000 lives from cardiovascular-related deaths annually just in Britain.
We also heard a report from the US recently confirming that 40% of all food prepared in the US is wasted and ends up in the garbage. The report said that food prepared in factory farms is too cheap to be valued. With this waste, all the resources that went into such food preparations such as water (15500 Liters needed to produce 1 kg of beef) and energy (16 times more energy usage for a meat diet compared to a Vegetarian diet) are also wasted. Food waste has increased 50 percent since 1974 and accounted for 25 percent of freshwater use in the US and 300Million barrels of oil per year. Food waste contributes to excess consumption of fresh water and fossil fuels which, along with methane and CO2 emissions from decomposing food, impacts global climate change, the scientists said.4 There is little doubt that most of this relates to meat-based fast food and may apply to Canada as well.
Meat and poultry consumption directly adds to the risk of many diseases such as high blood pressure, cholesterol problems, type2 diabetes, kidney disease, heart attack, stroke, Osteoporosis, and of course overweight and obesity. Since health care in Canada is largely publicly funded, governments have to foot the bills of such chronic diseases. No wonder, the annual per capita health care cost in Canada has gone up from $1770 USD in 1990 to $3895 USD in 2007 and we still need a lot more due to long lineups