More Vegetarian Poppy-Cock

May 16, 2008

In a strange way, such bleak forecasts bring a welcome clarity to a discussion long confined to the margins of society. For decades, anyone who argued that humans should be eating less meat, or none at all, did so largely on moral grounds such as animal rights, or for religious reasons—arguments that the rest of society was free to ignore. True, one could make a science-based case for eating less meat, especially the fatty meat that comes from grain-fed livestock. Yet if people wanted to clog their arteries, the damage came at one’s own expense. Now the idea that meat-eating is purely an individual choice, and the costs affect only the individual, has been blown wide open. Just as chuffing on Marlboros or driving a gas-guzzling SUV—as Michael Specter recently put it—have become the modern day equivalent of wearing a scarlet letter, so too has meat-eating graduated from the category of lifestyle choice to that of collective responsibility.

What’s more, it’s clear that the question of how much meat we can or should eat cannot be resolved without a more global scientific approach. As we have with cigarette smoking and automobile preference—things that were once regarded as personal choices but whose societal costs are now precisely quantified—we now need to use science to essentially recalibrate our moral compasses when it comes to meat. What are meat’s true “external” costs? How much meat can we sustainably produce, in the context of a warming climate and dwindling resources? And how rapidly does our meatcentric food economy need to change? These aren’t easy questions. But just as science has shed light on other complex lifestyle issues, it must now offer a new and more pragmatic vision for the future of meat.

– From Carnivores Like Us in Seed Magazine

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2 Responses to “More Vegetarian Poppy-Cock”

  1. Coppe said

    How is that in any way vegetarian poppycock? If anything, the author argues for an understanding of our need to eat meat and that it may need to have a place in our society. Also, that is probably one of the most cautious and scientific opinion pieces I’ve read in a while.

  2. dave in the west said

    Say what? ^^^

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