Will Meat-Guzzlers Go the Way of Gas-Guzzlers?

Regular readers of this blog know that I wish that the environmental benefits of vegetarianism were better understood. To that end, another NYT article explores the topic. This article recaps a lot of social science I’ve blogged before, but I hadn’t heard that “an estimated 30 percent of the earth’s ice-free land is directly or indirectly involved in livestock production.”

The article touches on how livestock demand for soy and corn raises the price above the prices for these grains that lower-income countries can afford. We might dismiss the comparatively higher prices as the consequence of normal market forces, but given the upstream subsidies used to encourage meat manufacturing, it’s a distorted marketplace effect with life-and-death consequences.

The article concludes with a prediction for the future: “meat may become a treat rather than a routine. It won’t be uncommon, but just as surely as the S.U.V. will yield to the hybrid, the half-pound-a-day meat era will end.”

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