Given it requires the suffering and slaughter of billions of animals worldwide, it’s difficult to understand how any animal food can be called any kind of extravagance let alone a benign one. Anyway, in today’s Guardian columnist George Monbiot discusses a new book, Meat: A Benign Extravagance, by Simon Fairlie.
I admit to not being previously aware of this book and will look for it. Monbiot says with what must be the most tiresome of cliches that Fairlie “butchers a herd of sacred cows.” Apparently, this includes the amount of water required to produce a kilo of beef and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation’s claim that livestock are responsible for 18 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Monbiot declares early on in his article that “I no longer believe that the only ethical response is to stop eating meat.”
For one of the country’s leading investigative reporters who specialises in covering the environment, this is an astonishing comment to make. However much anyone tries to manufacture the information and massage the facts at the end of the day raising animals to produce food is inefficient, uneconomic and unhealthy for the animals, the people who eat them and the environment. And then there’s the ethical argument……..