There are several reasons why people remove meat from their diet. Many do it for their own health, for the health of the environment or for ethical reasons surrounding animal cruelty. While all these reasons are admirable and should be commended, the situation is not black and white. We have established in earlier blogs that meat is an incredibly nutrient dense source of food for humans so eliminating it in favour of plant based diets for ‘health’ reasons is not advised.
We have also touched on how animals when raised on pasture positively impact the ecosystem. So avoiding meat for environmental reasons is not clear cut and depends on the system of where your food comes from. Choosing to stop eating meat due to the fact that you don’t want an animal to suffer is again admirable but also misled. The idea that being plant based prevents animal suffering is inaccurate.
In a recent paper. It is thought that 7.3 billion animals are killed per year in plant agriculture and not just from which makes sense when you think about the birds killed by pesticides, fish from toxic run-off, reptiles from eating toxic insects, insects themselves and a host of other animals from soil destruction. So as you can see the idea that plant based diets are bloodless is not correct and that there is suffering in every diet.
We should be focused on ways of farming and diets that contribute to the least amount of suffering. Killing one cow could feasibly feed several families for days and even weeks. Is this worse than eating a Beyond Burger where thousands of animals likely have died in the process due to industrial inputs and ecosystem destruction? For both diets that contain animals and plants, choosing farms and production systems that are organic, pasture raised or regenerative are your best bet for ethical treatment of the animals and environmental care.