I my previous post, I discussed the issue of sustainable development and how a healthy socio-economic and environmental equilibrium can be achieved when countries adopt the right measures.
In this week’s article, I have decided to go more into detail and talk about an issue that is not present enough in global debates.
After watching the documentary COWSPIRACY: The Sustainability Secret I want to discuss the issue of the unsustainability of meat production activities and other animal-based food industries.
Animals suffer brutal acts of torture; blind and almost incapable of walking, cattle is just fattened and slaughtered for the sake of our consumption.
Large amounts of clean water are wasted every day to produce a single steak. To put this into perspective, 15,500 liters of water are used to produce a kilo of meat - according to the Atlas of Meat - while producing the same quantity of carrots requires just 131 liters.
Fisheries and toxic particles of CO2 are devastating oceans, water wells are drying out while millions of people die from not having access to drinkable water.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO), several billions of farm animals are required to satisfy the demand for meat around the world, and fattening them supposes an extremely high cost. A third of arable farmland and 40% of global cereal production – 70% in rich countries – goes to feeding cattle instead of humans. Some people will therefore eat while others must resign to live without essential resources; exclusion is necessary condition.
The World Health Organization and multiple other research centers have linked the consumption of processed meats to higher rates of cancer diagnosis among individuals. According to the FAO, cattle is responsible for a large share of greenhouse gas emissions, producing more than all cars, planes , boats and other vehicles brought together.
Individuals and global leaders must take action to mitigate the consequences of an industry that pollutes the environment, brutalizes animals and is detrimental both to human health and to economies. Indeed, in healthier society, lines at hospitals would be shortened and healthcare budget would consequently see its enormous share reduced - a relief for national finances.
I was once asked what I would do if I were an international leader.
As a leader of my country, I would raise the issue over the course of international summits, and engage with NGOs as well as judicial and parliamentary authorities to promote Animal Rights. To show the example I would personally commit to gradually reducing the amount of meat I eat every day, and make use of my power as a public figure in order to engage through social media to spread information on the unsustainability of industrial farms.
Do not get me wrong, I am no super vegan hero that is preaching the full eradication of meat from our menus; even I know how hard this is. However, what I am intending to share is that an effort to take action from each one of us would suppose an enormous step forward upon the improvement of the world and the well-being of everything that populates it.
Because, as Phillip Wollen advocates, raising awareness is not sufficient; humankind must beat indifference: “if slaughter houses had glass walls, we wouldn’t be having this debate”.