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Five Reasons to Eat Less Meat (even if you love it)

Each week we will sum up five important, but underreported, news items from around the world. Our goal is to provide the fodder to help you make the switch to eating less meat (and better raised meat) by bringing together disparate parts of the puzzle.

Photo from Hindustan Times

While Americans are focused on hurricane after hurricane in our own backyards, floods affecting India, Nepal and Bangladesh have impacted an estimated 40 million people in the past few weeks. After record breaking rains that killed more than 1000 people and put 1/3 of Bangladesh under water, a flash flood at 3 am in the state of Assam, India has left that area under water again.

Although individual floods and hurricanes are hard to attribute to a warming planet, the frequency and intensity of "natural disasters" are indeed a sure sign of climate change.

So what does this have to do with the roast beef sandwich you just ordered for lunch? In a widely cited study published last summer, the top four ways to impact global warming at an individual level are:

  1. Have one fewer child (it might be too late for that)

  2. Go car free (a great idea, but it might take you a week to figure out the bus schedule)

  3. Avoid airplane travel

  4. Eat a plant based diet (emphasis ours)

In a study of 63,257 people in Indonesia over more than 20 years, researchers found a link between diabetes and the consumption of red meat and poultry. Less is healthier when it comes to meat.

Individuals who ate the most red meat, the researchers noted, had a 23 percent higher risk of diabetes than those who ate little red meat. Eating a lot of poultry was linked with a 15 percent increase in risk of diabetes.

The area of Texas that flooded from Hurricane Harvey was home to 1 million cattle. Although the majority of them survived the storm, many are now dying from of standing in water for long periods of time in the aftermath.

In the quest to grow more soybeans to feed more animals (so that humans can consume more meat), it looks like the world’s most talked about agribusiness Monsanto (now actually owned by Bayer, the same company that makes your asprin) has created a bit of a monster. The latest seed-spray system, Diacamba, has “volitized” off intended fields and drifted onto neighboring fields, causing the death of millions of acres of crops, forests, vegetables and pollinator habitat.

“It’s really hard to get a handle on how widespread the damage is,” said Bob Hartzler, a professor of agronomy at Iowa State University. “But I’ve come to the conclusion that [dicamba] is not manageable.”

A possible chicken wing shortage ahead? Apparently because consumers are now freaked out by too-large, over-bred chickens, the industry has scaled back and is again raising mostly "normal sized chickens" that don't fall over their own breasts (not kidding, they really did that). Bon Appetit takes an interesting look at the chicken industry and how giant sized chickens have fallen out of fashion.

But if there's one silver lining to all this, it's that Americans are starting to rethink the way we buy chicken. Instead of grabbing that package of drumsticks that probably came from eight different Godzilla-esque animals, consider buying a whole chicken that clocks in under four pounds.

Yes, consumer input makes a huge difference!! If we eat far less, better raised meats, industry will respond.

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