Meating Halfway and Let’s Reduce America’s Meat Consumption
It’s critical that we reduce meat consumption for animals, the planet, and our health.
At a recent farmers and ranchers for Trump rally in Iowa, Vice President Mike Pence stated that California Senator Kamala Harris, presidential candidate Joe Biden’s running mate, is looking to reduce the amount of meat Americans consume. Vice President Pence declared, “[…] the California senator that he [Biden] named as his running mate this week said during her short campaign for president that Americans needed to be, and I quote, ‘educated about the effect of our eating habits on our environment’.” The vice president and former governor of Indiana went on to add, “Senator Harris said that she would change the dietary guidelines of this country to reduce the amount of red meat Americans can eat. Well, I’ve got some red meat for you: We’re not going to let Joe Biden and Kamala Harris cut America’s meat.”
It’s important to point out that Pence’s statements were made to an audience that has a vested interest in ensuring that the American public continues to eat as much meat as possible. His comments were based on a CNN town hall from last year in which during Harris’ run for president, she responded to a question about whether she would support a change in the dietary guidelines to reduce the consumption of red meat.
It’s a simple fact to say that Americans eat more meat than almost anyone else in the world. It’s also true to say that our current rate of meat consumption has negative implications on our health, the planet, and animal welfare. While elected officials like to play politics in an attempt to garner support, the science is clear as day: our demand for meat fuels the factory farming industry and directly contributes to the destruction of our planet. In fact, animal agriculture is one of the largest drivers of global greenhouse gas emissions—even more than all the cars, planes and other forms of transportation combined.
Furthermore, the high quantities of meat we’re eating is killing us. While the US dietary guidelines include processed meat as part of a balanced diet, as long as they do not exceed the recommended daily sodium or fat intake, the World Health Organization has gone as far as classifying the food group that includes bacon and sausages as carcinogenic and advises against eating it. Even meats that many consider lean negatively impact our health. Many swap red meats for chicken in an attempt to lower their cholesterol levels, but recent studies have found that because we've genetically modified birds to have up to 10 times more fat than they used to be a century ago, switching from red meat to white meat doesn’t make much of a difference.
Our demand for cheap meat in America has led to factory farming, a system that does not acknowledge the sentience of animals, and negative animal welfare, environmental, and labor impacts are significant, yet not factored into the costs of production. Animals raised on factory farms are deprived of everything natural and are treated as mere cogs in a machine. These sentient animals, who are similar to cats and dogs we share our homes with, are subjected to unimaginable cruelties, including brutal mutilations, extreme confinement, and the overuse of antibiotics.
However, if the United States—which has one of the highest rates of meat consumption in the world—can reduce its overall demand for cruelly-produced meat, World Animal Protection expects factory farming can be phased out. This will benefit not only our health and wellbeing, but also the health and wellbeing of animals and the planet. Change starts with us acting on an individual level. By choosing to eat less meat and more plant-based protein, we can transform our food system, improve our health, safeguard our planet, and improve the lives of billions of farmed animals. Pledge to #EatLessMeat today!