Whether you are concerned about animal welfare, your health or the environment, the scientific evidence to reduce your meat intake is overwhelming. Unsurprisingly people who love eating meat and people who make a living from selling it aren’t keen on hearing any of this. There are also a number of arguments out there telling us that almonds are worse than veal and avocados are damaging the planet more than the destruction of the Amazon for farming land.
As ever at ukgoinggreen.com, we like to empower you with credible information that helps you distinguish between fact and fiction, so here are eight arguments for eating meat, debunked:
1. Myth: A lot of farmland can only be used for grazing sheep & cattle
Pasture can be used to grow trees, which lock up carbon and provide rewilding land for the restoration of nature. Bio energy crops can be grown to replace fossil fuels.
There are a huge amount of crops and plants already being grown, more than enough to feed the whole nation and they are currently being fed to the animals we keep as livestock.
2. Myth: We need animals to convert plants into protein for us to eat
Despite the modern rhetoric that we need to be supplementing our protein regularly, there is no lack of protein.
In rich nations, such as the UK, people typically eat 20-50% more protein than they need. All of our protein needs can be met by beans, lentils, grain and nuts.
Anyone in any doubt, can look up the growing number of vegan body builders, who manage to grow large amounts of muscle mass on plant protein alone.
3. Myth: Soya milk & tofu are destroying the Amazon
More than 96% of the soy grown in the Amazon is used as feed for chickens, cows and pigs. The vast majority of soy grown in Brazil is also genetically modified and banned for human consumption in most countries so isn’t used to make our tofu and soya milk.
4. Myth: Plant milk causes environmental problems
Whilst it’s true that some unregulated farming has caused issues that need addressing, soya and almond milk have lower carbon emissions, and use less land and water than cow’s milk and the unethical practices around dairy farming are well documented.
The milk with the lowest footprint is that made from oats.
5. Myth: Vegans don’t get enough B12
This is very easily fixed with a B12 supplement, which isn’t ideal, but did you know that 90% of B12 supplements are actually fed to livestock. As the B12 in the soil, which the animals would require, has been depleted by pesticides.
It’s also worth noting that a significant percentage of meat-eating adults have insufficient levels of B12, despite their meat being supplemented with the vitamin.
6. Myth: Meat alternatives are very unhealthy
Whilst meat free burgers and sausages are processed and high in salt, and not to be eaten every day, they’re still considered to be healthier than the meat alternatives, as well as being higher in fibre. Unless meat eaters are eating a 100% whole foods, unprocessed diet, the plant based options remain useful alternatives.
Environmentally speaking, there is no question that replacing a beef burger with a plant-based burger, is better for the planet.
7. Myth: Plant based diets kill millions of insects
It’s a terribly sad, and worrying, fact that insects and bees are in decline across the planet. The wild habitat that was home to these creatures is subject to destruction for meat production and pesticide use. Anyone genuinely worried about insects should opt for a plant based, organic diet.
8. Myth: Animal farmers would be unemployed if we all stopped eating meat
Livestock farming is hugely subsidised by the government, using taxpayers’ money, unlike arable farming. This huge sum of money could be used for carbon capture, renewable energy or supporting sustainable plant-based foods.
Ultimately, we all know we should probably reduce our meat consumption. By cutting down by a few meals a week it will have a significant positive impact on your health and our planet. Yes, plant crop production has issues as well, but that’s no reason to opt for eating meat instead, it means we should be researching ways to streamline plant foods and sustainable diets.