Green Diva’s Guide to Delicious Living: 6 Reasons to be a Conscious Carnivore

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Reasons to be a Vegetarian!

As a former vegetarian, I eat a very select and small amount of meat and consider myself a conscious carnivore these days. I’m doing research for a book and i wanted to gather some facts about the environmental impact the industrialized meat production system. I’m all about creating a safe, humane, healthy and regional farming system for both veggies and animals.

After scratching the surface of the topic of industrialized meat production, I’m more convinced than ever, we will not survive if we continue (as a culture in the US) to demand and consume as much meat as we have become accustomed to. Churning out beef, pork, chicken, etc. on this scale can’t be sustainable, and I’m sure there are hundreds of great arguments about why we really don’t need to consume this much meat. I’ll leave that debate to those better qualified to cite studies and reports. I just know how I feel and what works for me. I’ve got many addictions, but thankfully meat isn’t one of them.

The Raw Facts of Industrial Meat Production

• “Expanding livestock production is one of the main drivers of the destruction of tropical rain forests in Latin America, which is causing serious environmental degradation in the region . . . 90% of deforestation is caused by unsustainable agricultural practices.”
Food and Agriculture Organization for the United Nations (FAO)

• “The livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global.”
Livestock, Environment And Development Initiative, 2006 Report

• Crops grown specifically for livestock use nearly half of the US water supply and 80% of its agricultural land.

• Energy efficiency, measured by energy input to protein output, for the production of meat, eggs and milk – from animal feed to the dinner table – range from a 4:1 to 54:1.
Cornell University, Science News

• Water consumption in grain v. meat – for 1 pound of each:
o 60 gallons = 1 lb. potatoes
o 108 gallons = 1 lb. Wheat
o 168 gallons = 1 lb. Corn
o 229 gallons = 1 lb. Rice
o 12,000 gallons = 1 lb. Beef
John Robbins, Vegetarian Author

• An individual who changes from a typical American diet to a vegan diet with the same number of calories would prevent the emission of 1485 kg of carbon dioxide. The difference exceeds that of a person switching from a Toyota Camry to the Toyota Prius, hybrid.
University of Chicago, 2006 study

Relevant GO posts:
Consider Cutting the Meat Out
Halal: The Original Ethical Meat Eating?
9 Money-Saving Tips to Eating Greener

About The Author

3 thoughts on “Green Diva’s Guide to Delicious Living: 6 Reasons to be a Conscious Carnivore”

  1. Absolutely none of the facts that you posted are improved by “conscious” meat production.
    (in order)
    1. Free-range takes more space. Stop using land to raise animals and instead use it to grow crops.
    2. Grass-fed cows take longer to grow to slaughter-size, so they emit more methane and CO2 in their lifetimes. Instead of eating grass-fed meat, try some tempeh.
    3. Why ignore that “conscious” meat also consumes crops that could be used for the food supply? Organic chickens are still often a diet supplemented with soybeans and corn — both of which could be consumed by humans.
    4. Energy efficiency applies to “conscious” meat too. In fact, as noted before, free-range animals often live longer, thus their energy efficiency is lessened.
    5. Again, water consumption is higher for an animal which lives longer.
    6. Exactly. There’s a solution! Go vegan.

    Stop kidding yourself. A profit-driven animal industry can never be part of the solution. There’s no such thing as “eco-friendly” meat, and there’s no such thing as humane meat. Why choose to end a life when you could so easily choose not to?

    Stop supporting the mass breeding and slaughter of farm animals — whether organic, industrial, or supposedly humane.

  2. If you are interested in conscientious meat-eating, check out Animal Welfare Approved–this certification is awarded to high-welfare, independent family farms. Visit to find out more about the program and to learn how you can make educated decisions when buying meat, eggs, and dairy.

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