Beef is often served not just in
fast food chains and restaurants, but at home too. You probably can’t go on for
a week without eating one! Although this type of meat is rich and flavorful,
its effects to the environment is something to take into consideration.
If you’ve been watching the news,
or reading newspapers and such, you’ve probably come across stories that say
beef is one of the main contributors to greenhouse emissions because of
methane. Compared to carbon dioxide, methane is 25 times more powerful in terms
of greenhouse gas since cattle tends to produce methane from both ends.
According to the Food and
Agricultural Organization of the United Nations and the Organization (FAO) for
Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the demand for beef as well as
veal will go up in the next decade. Global production of beef will go up by 16%
just to meet the demands of consumers. Scientists are already pleading people
to lessen their consumption of beef, but how will this happen?
Beef was once considered as the
“millionaire’s meat” in China, but that time has long gone. Today, beef is
easily accessible to consumers all over the world which means that its price
has dropped. Not only that, but countries prefer to export beef for eating.
Surprisingly, there are countries
that are trying to curb their consumption of beef, such as Hong Kong, where its
people are leaning towards eating more vegetables and fruits with the
occasional beef and seafood because of health concerns.
The problem with raising cattle
nowadays is that owners tend to use up their environment in order to fatten
their cattle up in just a short time. This means that they will be adding
fertilizer to the soil they tilled to create crops for the cattle to enjoy
which can also have an effect to the land. And because the number of cattle
herders are growing, the demand for more land is also taking a toll on the
atmosphere too, since there is less oxygen being produced. What’s more, some
cattle owners do not agree that there is any correlation between having a herd
of cattle to greenhouse gas emissions.
American often eat meat. As a
matter of fact, an average adult can consume up to 200 pounds of meat every
year. In spite of vegetarian diets, research stating the life-cycle cost of
every pound of beef, it all boils down to one thing, and that is Americans
can’t get enough of it.
The question now is whether we
can wean ourselves from it.
Perhaps it is possible through an
agricultural revolution where we swap meat with other alternatives, such as
insects, which are also packed with protein. This is not something new as
billions of people are enjoying some exotic food as part of their daily diet,
but this may be hard to sell in the U.S. And because of this, scientists began
to incorporate cricket in pet food instead of meat which means that they are
still able to contribute to reducing their carbon footprint.
As for human consumption, it may
be that creating meat in a lab is the next best thing where you will be given
food that looks and tastes like real meat but it’s not. Although there are
laboratories that are already testing this theory out, some are not really
pleased with the results as of yet. If scientists are able to regulate the
protein and fat content of these lab-grown meat, there is a possibility that
people won’t notice, and therefore can reduce the demand for beef.