Meat consumption: Fact and fiction

WHAT IT IS

  • Meat-based or omnivorous diets is a lifestyle in which people consume meat and animal products such as milk and eggs.
  • Some people do not eat meat for personal and religious reasons. For example, cows are considered sacred in some religions like Hinduism; those following the Muslim religion refrain from eating pork, as it is seen as impure.
  • Meat includes red meat, poultry and seafood.

WHY IT MATTERS

Whether following a plant or meat based diet, it is important for people to know what they consume and how it affects their body. Eating meat has positive and negative consequences that often get colluded.

  • THE MYTHS – “Forget about it”

    • Meat causes disease:   Stories of mad cow disease and salmonella frighten people away from meat, when in reality the chance of contracting the disease is about three in every eight million cases.
    • We need protein:   Humans do require some natural protein for a healthy diet; however, Western civilizations consume twice as much protein than a human body requires.
    • Isn’t healthy:   There are a lot of benefits to eating meat, including gaining vitamin B and strengthening muscle and bone.
  • THE TRUTHS – “Facts only”

    • Poor conditions:   Although companies advertise “free-range” animals, most intensive farms that breed mass amounts of animals keep them in tight spaces.
    • Causes high blood pressure:   There are some correlations to weight increase, heart disease, cancer, and other medical issues and eating red meat. However, eating leaner red meat as well as poultry and seafood can help counteract that.
    • No laws protecting animals:   There are no federal laws monitoring factory farm conditions; laws are decided at a state level. Most states exclude farm animals from animal cruelty laws.

WHERE WE ARE NOW

  • The United States meat institutions feed over 318 million Americans, and consumption is up 30% since 1961.
  • Despite rumors of cannibalism in factory farms, most companies promote only grass-fed meat.
  • The Humane Society has called for the U.S. government to promote plant-based diets.
  • The healthiest meat is considered to be seafood.

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT

  • Factory farming contributes to air pollution and other environmental destruction.
  • Should there be a limit to how much meat one person should consume?
  • How do facts and myths contribute to the meat versus plant diet debate?