I reliably predict that in the next decade the majority of us will stop eating meat. It won’t be because we’ll all agree with vegans that meat is murder. And it won’t be because eating too much meat is undoubtedly putting a lot of pressure on our planet and our health. So what will?
- Animal agriculture causes over half of food-related greenhouse gas emissions. While only providing 18% of our calories.
- Meat production is a major driver of extensive deforestation. The main cause of habitat destruction across Latin America is the gradual conversion of cultivated land to livestock pasture and soy for animal feed.
- Red meat is particularly damaging. This is due to methane emissions and the large land requirements of cattle, goats and sheep.
- Large-scale studies link eating less meat to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Plus obesity, type 2 diabetes and many preventable cancers.
So what will change minds? It’ll be due to the logic of advanced capitalism.
It’s just a matter of time before this is gonna happen, I’m absolutely convinced of that. In our case, I estimate the time to be about 3 years before we are ready to enter the market on a small scale, about 5 years to enter the market on a larger scale, and if you’d ask me: “When will [cultured meat] be in the supermarket around the corner?” That’ll be closer to 10 than to 5 years, I think.
– Peter Verstrate, Mosa Meat (2018)
Scientists are carefully developing viable alternatives to meat now. These are plant-based substitutes and vat-grown meat produced from cultured animal cells. They taste the same as beef but, unlike cow meat, they’ll be subject to the extraordinary power of the modern production line. And it’s not just a practical matter of the sheer volume of goods produced. Rather it’s the astonishing speed of modern manufacture and the unique ability to vary supply with fluctuating demand. Plus its the benefit of doing away with low-value by-products like offal and excrement. And to develop possible variations in flavour.
Factory farming, despite its name, has no such distinct advantages.
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