Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Meat must be rationed to four portions a week

Since it has been running on Drudge and other major news channels for awhile, I'm sure that many of you have seen this article reporting on a study that recommends that if we want to minimize anthropogenic effects on the climate of our home planet, we should limit our consumption of meat. But given Chef Pardus' back to back posts on fowl butchery, I think it is well now to post it as a reminder that virtually everything we like to consume may contribute to global warming.

What ever happened to the good old days when all of the guilt associated with eating was rooted in moral, ethical and health concerns? Sigh.

Hey, I just had a brilliant idea (Leave now if you are in a literal state of mind)

We know that there are millions who will not voluntarily cut back on their meat consumption. We also know that there will be hundreds of thousands who will do so while feeling horribly guilty that every bite of meat they take might be contributing to the destruction of countless thousands who live in regions that are threatened by rising sea level etc. Why not take advantage of this create a company that contracts with people to not eat meat or feed meat to their pets? Then this company could sell "meat offset coupons" to meat eaters who want the meat without the guilt of believeing that they are causing coastal flooding and desertification?

Meat must be rationed to four portions a week, says report on climate change


MessyONE said...

I'm sure the folks at the Food Climate Research Network have enough vegans as members to offset a whole lot of people who, well, just eat meat.

We'll be posting this sign at the next dinner party:

"Vegans will be spit roasted"

Walt Smith said...


I'm not sure spit roasting is the best way to break down the collagen, but if you do plan on using vegans, please be socially responsible and only use vegans that have walked less than 50 miles to the party. You could start a new movement... Is locannibalism a word?

MessyONE said...


We live in a big city, so there are vegans to spare. They're nice and tender because they drive everywhere- our public transit system is a mess right now.

Even the fit ones are no biggie - they just need a long braise.

[True story. A friend and I went to a local restaurant for an early dinner not so long ago and asked our waiter if he'd tried the duck sandwich. He looked down his nose and said, "I wouldn't know. I'm a vegan".

The service was not bad, just weird. What kind of manager hires a vegan to wait tables in a meat-centric restaurant?]

John Jezl said...

Who would feed meat to their pets??? Really?

*Looks away guiltily*

Don't eat the vegans. Who will we make fun of then?

On a more seriouser note (YES, "seriouser" is a word. It's MY word, so back off), I wonder if anyone has determined which animals are worse environmentally on a per pound basis.

Also, if we have a problem feeding 9 billion people... uh... perhaps we need fewer people, rather than more people starving themselves of protein. I leave it to your imagination how that can be achieved.

MessyONE said...

The most efficient measure of "greenness" when it comes to meat is to compare the amount of feed required for each pound of dressed weight.

Cattle are the worst, chickens are the best on that basis. I KNOW there's a chart for this somewhere, but what I got from it is that it all depends on how fast an animal matures to slaughter weight.

Ben said...

Pardon the contrarian in me, but I don't feel the slightest pangs of guilt when that co2 bubbles up out of my tasty beer and escapes into the atmosphere. Hearing the term "carbon footprint" gives me the urge to dip my foot in coal dust and plant it squarely on the rear end of whoever says it!

Kate in the NW said...


I have to say - being halfway into a good microbrew (yes, I'm a lightweight) this just makes me want to reach for the prosciutto and bleu d'auvergne and drive myself positively insensible with aplcolyptic pleasure.

Must be the CO2 talking.

(Truly, I DO care...a lot. But come on. You're telling me - yes I know it's not YOU, specifically, but rather THEY - anyway, you're telling me that my elitist, organically-raised carnivore/foodie habits are as harmful to the panet as all those IDIOTS eating McDonald's straight out of the rainforest? Gimme a break. Make THEM eat less "meat". I want my f-ing bacon.)


Mike Pardus said...

Soylent Green, anyone?

Sort of takes on a newly ironic twist, given the current status symbol of "green", and the vegan connotations of "Soy-Lent".

Cameron S. said...

I am eating a big bowl of haricot vert with garlic, white wine, and a bit of olive oil and covered with fresh herbs and some slow smoked brisket (14 hours) (oak with a touch of hickory), I love my weber smoky mountain so.

If vegans and PETA want to save the world they should start by building some suicide machines and truly reducing their carbon footprint. Then I can begin to respect their extremist stance for being real.

Cameron S. said...

I should also mention that I walk an hour a day to get to work and back, recycle everything, and live in a small home. I use my vehicle about 5000 miles a year. I have a simple lifestyle. I enjoy meat a few nights a week and have balance in my diet.

Abulafia said...

I gotta disagree with the bulk of the commentary here.

I would though. I'm naturally cantankerous.

How often do I eat meat....

Living on my own, cooking my own food, about three or four times a week.

In the next few weeks I'm going to be helping with the slaughter of our first for the table rooster. I'm probably planning to make that a regular thing.

Add in some rabbit, some hare, perhaps, and maybe some pheasant and pigeon, and that could make up the bulk of my meat consumption.

I'm no vegan then. And none of this stops me from worrying about my carbon footprint. Because I do have one. Lots of things contribute. Air miles, car ownership, energy usage, and food miles and production.

It'd be nice to live in a world where there were no climactic concerns about food production. But we don't. And no amount of coal dipped ass kicking is going to change that. Diets intensive in meat have consequences. The energy required for the crops to feed them - fertiliser production, and transport. Agricultural land being set aside for animal crops also drive up the cost of cereals.

Hell. I think you'd have to be a fool not to limit your meat consumption.

And as for those cheese hating vegan surrender monkeys everybody here seems to hate. Well, where I live, it's that brigade who have pushed local food, slow food, artisan food and traditional methods of production back into the limelight, and into the kitchens of good restaurants, and middle class foodies. Including animal products and their meat. They also seem to produce a heck of a lot of it.

Ben said...

Yeah, well, I worry about the Gore's of this world with their 12000 square foot homes and their 100 foot boats and their jetting to far off conferences every five minutes to get together and lecture us on how to live. Like all religions, though, this global warming/human-caused climate change crap only benifits the high preists and us peons get the shaft every time. Whenever someone intimates that my government is going to do good by regulating ANOTHER aspect of my life, I think that its just another step towards tyranny.

MessyONE said...

This talk of meat is making me hungry, and it isn't even lunchtime yet.

It's cool outside, so I think it's time I hied myself off to my favorite pub for a glass of Maudite and some steak frites.......

Abulafia said...

Actually, the global warming guys've got science on their side Ben. It's the denial side that sound like Intelligent Design advocates right now.

And hell....couldn't Lehman brothers've done with a spot of regulation....?

Ben said...

Abulafia- Your response was nothing if not totally predictable.

Abulafia said...

God. Ihate it when someone feels it necessary to insult my intelligence.

Well, howsa about this for predictable.

Bringing to mind the idea of the theory dependence of observation (see Popper and Kuhn) and cross referencing that with Bacons original sketch, in Novum Organum, of a new scientific method, leading, quite directly, to both the Enlightenment (and, after all, aren't we both from, in certain senses, post-enlightenment societies?), and, dispensing quite urbanely with both Feyerabends claim to an anarchistic science, and Foucaults post-structuralist critique (see on method), we can, I think, quite confidently state that the current model for scientific method (both as it conditions individual practice, and, vis a vis peer review, as it serves to govern and strenghten the collectice communities scientific method and credence.)

That current model is currently swinging quite strongly (though, it must be said not universally, though the main critic of global warming theory in Europe has had complaints of prejudicial representation, and false representation upheld against him) in favour of a theory of global warming posing a considerable, tangible, and increasingly predictable set of negative consequences for our health, and the planets climactic balance.

This would seem to adequately marry with current ideas of what can be said to constitute scientific rigour - observable phenomena, logical coherence, falsifiability (cf Popper) and, to a certain degree, predictability.

You are free to question whether I am right or wrong. You are indeed right to. You are also free to question my intelligence. But you are, indeed, not right to.

Anonymous said...

More Melamine based protien for the vegans!

MessyONE said...


Pomposity aside, Ben has a point. You sound like you're reciting, and it's something we've all heard before. Not one person here has questioned the science behind global warming. Bob posted this piece because he found it amusing and quite correctly thought that others would find it so as well.

If any of us are offended, it's at the notion that we should all cede control of our lives to those who "know better", or at least claim to in the most authoritative sounding voice. To me, it smacks of the "if it sounds clever, then it must be correct" school of argument.

We all have our areas of expertise. We are all capable of expounding at length about those subjects.

Abulafia said...

Perhaps I do. But I'm not. It is, indeed, from sincere belief, and genuine engagement.

And, as a result, I think this kind of action is necessary. It covers a lot of ground too - a sense of trade and food equality is bound up in this. So is the gap between rich and poor, and first and third worlds. So are basic ideas of responsibility.

For me, and this is how I try to work it, cutting down my meat intake is a voluntary decision based on a principled position.

So is not flying.

And I guess I think Ben probably did disagree with the science angle.

I dig what Bob posts. But I gotta say, I didn't get the irony of this one.

Tags said...

So, no more than 4 servings of meat.

No problem, I'll just switch to animal fat. That's where all the flavor is, anyway.

Ben said...

Gotta love the Tags, Brings it all back to what this blog is all about, FOOD!

Cameron S. said...

Um, yeah. Mmm, animal fat.

I don't dispute global warming at all.

Like I said, I consciously have a very small home, (how much space does 2 people and 1 dog need anyway) walk to work, drive sparingly, and fly only when necessary. I recycle and eat locally. All light bulbs are LED in my home and my electric bill is about 11.00 a month.

Celebrities and the rich with multiple homes and flying around the world on a moments notice on private jet need the focus I think, I am doing more than my share.

Cameron S. said...

Also - right now large sections of the Amazon are under threat from soy farmers wanting to cash in on the global soy business, both for eating and biofuels.

I originally read about this on the New York times a few weeks ago.

Kanani said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kanani said...

I'm not into guilt, so what I propose is that we have offsets for everything from carbon, meat, to offsets for people who want to buy cheap things at WalMart.

I also propose relationship offsets. Let's say, an older man wants to date only younger women or vice versa. So that he or she doesn't feel guilty for not choosing someone in their own age range, they could swap offsets with an older woman who wishes to pursue only younger men --hence May/December romances are further validated by a measure of fairness.
We could even add bonuses if either party drives a Prius, or if they decide to date a Vegan, or if one or two of them shop at thrift shops. However, there could be extra debits if the younger woman has a cup runneth over into a D and if the younger man is decidedly, a stud.
The possiblities to ensure guilt-free living is endless!

Bob del Grosso said...

Your comments had me in stitches and inspired me to wish that someone would do the math and work out the margins on a business that sold "longevity offsets." I'd love to see the specifics of a proposal to sell "mortality offsets" for example.

Or how about a-hole offsets for that matter?

"A" sells his time to behave like an a--hole to an enterprise that sells his a--hole time to people like myself who are always fielding complaints about our behavior.

Jacqueline said...

PETA = people eating tasty animals, right?

MessyONE said...

jacqueline -

I saw an even better t-shirt:

"Meat is murder. Tasty, tasty murder."

I'm going to have to order that one...