Do you really know what’s in the meat you eat?
For the recent years there has been an ongoing discussion about the environmental effects of meat consumption. This discussion has partly arisen from the increased knowledge about the carbon footprint of the food we consume, but also from the increased interest in the ethical side of mass farmed animals. Most of us agree that the animals should be treated better during the industrial farming process. There are exceptions on the emission side – some animals emit less greenhouse gases than others and on the ethical side, such as organic farming and game. Humans have been eating meat for thousands of years and it has been an ordinary part of our diet in most parts of the World.
So why should you take a moment today and contemplate your meat consumption behaviour?
Antibiotics and hormones are fed to livestock everyday
Industrially farmed animals are fed with antibiotics and hormone enriched feed, which means that a part of these antibiotics and hormones will also stay in the end-consumer will also take in when eating such meat. The effect of these is not well studied at the moment, but in a society where people take more care of themselves than ever the potential issues are still neglected. It is of concern that 80% of the produced antibiotics in the world are fed to animals and only 20% to humans (World Watch Institute, 2011).
Increased global meat consumption
The production of meat has increased a lot. There has been a 20% increase during the last 10 years and a 300% increase during the last four decades (World Watch Institute, 2011). These numbers are huge. This increased global meat consumption comes with increased methane and carbon dioxide emissions as most of the meat consumed is beef and pork.
There are multiple non-animal sources of protein
I love meat but I have drastically reduced my consumption during the last year. For a long time I had a preoccupation that I need to eat meat to get my daily proteins. Now I have realised that there are various alternatives to get the protein, also in a easy way. Most commonly I eat bean proteins, but also soy occasionally. Today when I eat meat it is a special occasion, usually once or twice a week. During these occasions I try to choose organically farmed or wild meat and then I really treat myself.
Wild meat is the most sustainable alternative
A study by the researchers at Finnish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (2013) lists the CO² emissions of various food products including meats. Reindeer meat has 1.5 kg of CO² emissions for 1 kilogram of meat compared to 13.2 kg/kg of beef and 13.1 kg/kg for sheep or goat. Reindeer also wander freely in the nature feeding themselves with what nature can offer instead of being pumped full of steroids of being fed with GMO feed. Therefore we are proud to offer only reindeer meat in our current selection, because we want to keep the planet good also for the next generations. You can have a look at the document itself with the different emissions (CO²) for food products, it’s provided in the reference list. It’s a really interesting read!
World Watch Institute, 2011, Global Meat Production and Consumption Continue to Rise. (http://www.worldwatch.org/global-meat-production-and-consumption-continue-rise-1)
Irz, X. Kurppa, S., 2013, Inter-household variations in environmental impact of food consumption in Finland, MTT Discussion Papers 1. (http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/bitstream/152215/2/DP2013_1.pdf)