June 10, 2023

Regardless of the nice strides made by the vegetarian and vegan actions over the previous few a long time, most Individuals aren’t going to surrender their meat-based diets anytime quickly.

An unique ballot of 1,500 eligible U.S. voters carried out for Newsweek by Redfield and Wilton Methods on Might 17 discovered {that a} majority of Individuals repeatedly eat meat and imagine that it is a wholesome alternative. In addition they mentioned the meat business shouldn’t be that dangerous for the local weather.

The polling additionally discovered that 81 % of individuals eat meat at the least as soon as per week, and 10 % mentioned that they ate it solely a few times a month. Solely 4 and three % of the respondents mentioned that they not often or by no means ate meat, respectively.

Different questions revealed that 35 % of individuals strongly agreed with the assertion that it is wholesome to eat meat, with 41 % choosing “agree” and 17 % choosing “neither agree nor disagree.” Solely 4 % mentioned that they disagreed, and an additional 1 % mentioned that they strongly disagreed.

A inventory picture reveals hamburgers with American flags. Eighty-one % of Individuals eat meat at the least as soon as per week, in keeping with a ballot.

However consuming meat, notably crimson meat and processed meat, is lower than wholesome for our our bodies. There’s a hyperlink between elevated consumption of crimson and processed meats and the next threat of coronary heart illness, most cancers, diabetes and untimely loss of life, in keeping with the Harvard Well being Publishing web site.

The polling additionally confirmed that whereas 34 % of individuals imagine that consuming much less crimson meat would assist decrease international carbon emissions, 40 % mentioned that they didn’t imagine this. Twenty-six % mentioned they weren’t certain.

The meat business, particularly the cattle business, produces an enormous quantity of greenhouse gases. A paper printed within the on-line journal Nature Meals discovered that elevating cows, pigs and different animals for meals is accountable for 57 % of all meals manufacturing carbon emissions, twice as excessive as these created by all plant-based meals manufacturing. Beef alone accounts for 1 / 4 of meals manufacturing emissions.

cattle farm
A inventory picture reveals cows on a cattle farm. Extra land is used worldwide to feed livestock than to develop crops to feed folks.

The issue is the sheer quantity of land wanted to develop meals for the animals, in addition to the felling of bushes to clear area for grazing and in any other case elevating the animals. Extra land is used worldwide to feed livestock than to develop crops to feed folks, in keeping with the Nature Meals paper. Moreover, all of the transportation concerned within the manufacturing course of produces carbon dioxide, and the livestock themselves produce methane of their burps, a greenhouse gasoline with 28 instances the warming energy of CO2 on a 100-year scale.

The Guardian reported in 2021 that 5.5 kilos of greenhouse gases are emitted for each 2.2 kilos of wheat produced, in contrast with a staggering 154 kilos of greenhouse gases per 2.2 kilos of beef.

The polling did present that youthful individuals are extra more likely to agree that meat is dangerous for the atmosphere. Thirty % of 18- to 24-year-olds, 50 % of 25- to 34-year-olds and 47 % of 35- to 44-year-olds mentioned so. For 55- to 64-year-olds, solely 16 % of individuals mentioned the identical.

One various to fulfill Individuals’ starvation for meat—exterior of a vegan or vegetarian weight loss plan—is laboratory-grown meat. That is actual meat tissue from animals that’s grown in a lab fairly than taken from the physique of an animal. This may assist reduce the carbon emissions produced within the meat provide chain, relying on how a lot the expansion course of generates.

meat in lab
A inventory picture reveals meat in a petri dish.

Lab-grown meat was backed by President Joe Biden in an government order final September. He mentioned that the U.S. authorities is devoted to investing in biotechnology that can advance the nation’s meals safety, together with by way of “cultivating various meals sources” and “trying to enhance meals safety and drive agricultural innovation by new applied sciences…[including] meals made with cultured animal cells.”

Nevertheless, this various does not appear to have impressed a lot enthusiasm amongst Individuals.

Twenty-seven % of these within the polling pattern mentioned they might really feel protected consuming lab-grown meat, with 25 % saying they might eat it. Nevertheless, 55 % mentioned they might not really feel protected consuming lab-grown meat, and 57 % wouldn’t eat it.

Moreover, whereas 30 % of individuals mentioned that they believed lab-grown meat supplies a practical various to meat produced from animals, 51 % mentioned they didn’t. Nineteen % mentioned they did not know.

The polling reveals that whereas numerous Individuals acknowledge the meat business’s results on each human well being and the local weather, fewer of them are prepared to alter their habits or diets in consequence.

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