Chris Darwin, a wildlife advocate, discusses the environmental impact of eating meat:
Great, great grandson of Charles Darwin says we must change our diet to prevent more wildlife dying off.
Chris Darwin, 56, had come to London from his home in Australia for a groundbreaking conference attempting to tackle the growing crisis of the world’s rapidly diminishing wildlife, and one of the key causes of that loss – worldwide demand for meat.
More than 50 of the best minds in the fields of ecology, agriculture, public health, biology, oceanography, eco-investment and food retailing joined forces over two days to brainstorm ideas on how to stem the rapid shrinkage of the natural world caused by damaging agricultural practices.
The Extinction and Livestock Conference, with at least 500 delegates, was the world’s first ever conference examining how modern meat production affects life on Earth, and, put simply, it was designed to find ways to revolutionise the world’s food and farming systems to prevent mass species extinctions.
“We have to stop this,” says Mr Darwin, and he recalls how his great, great grandfather regretted on his death not having done more for other animals – a sentiment that shaped his decision to turn around his “self-indulgent, selfish” life, which involved working in advertising, and do something for the planet.
The world loves meat. So much so that demand for meat products is projected to grow by nearly 70 percent by 2050. But meat production places a significant strain on the planet’s resources. Research shows that today’s meat-producing efforts uses one-third of the Earth’s fresh water and land surface and generates nearly one-fifth of all greenhouse gas emissions.
But that’s not going to stop most of us from eating it because it’s too darn delicious. The founders behind San Francisco-based Memphis Meats know this, and they’re responding with what could be a disruptive change to the trillion-dollar meat production industry. Memphis Meats is making “clean meat.” It’s also delicious. But there’s one problem: It costs about $18,000 a pound.
The Walt Disney Company said in its latest quarterly financial statement that it had $177 million in costs related to settling litigation. The announcement came just weeks after ABC News, a Disney unit, reached a settlement with a meat producer that accused the network of defamation for its reports about so-called pink slime, a processed beef product used as low-cost filler.
The company’s statement, released on Aug. 8, said in a footnote that the $177 million charge was “incurred” in the nine-month period ending July 1, in addition to what was covered by insurance. It gave no details about whether that charge — or how much of it — was directly related to the processed beef product case.
The stuff, which was unveiled at a press event yesterday, is called “clean” because the meat is produced directly from self-reproducing cells, without the need to feed, breed, or slaughter animals. It’s also known as “cultured” or “in vitro” meat. David Kay, a business analyst at Memphis Meats, told MUNCHIES: “We were really excited to just yesterday reveal these products to the world. We’ve been working on the chicken strip for a few months now. Besides the chicken strip, the dish we prepared yesterday was inspired by duck à l’orange. It was really delicious.”
Country ham is nothing like the ham you grew up with. Those gelatinous pink slices stacked between two slices of Wonder Bread and stuffed in your Star Wars lunchbox were city ham, wet cured and probably commercially produced on a mass scale. Country ham, on the other hand, is an American dry-cured ham, found primarily in the Southeast, made using old-world techniques brought over by colonists.
A recent study funded by the European Commission and the Sheepdrove Trust, a British charity which supports organic farming research, found that organic meat and milk have a 50 percent higher omega-3 fatty acid composition than conventional products. Omega-3 fats can help lower the risk of heart disease. The study analyzed 196 papers concerning organic and conventional milk and 67 papers which analyzed organic versus nonorganic meats.
In the 1940s, a small group of scientists, Moore et al., discovered that adding antibiotics to animal feed would improve the animals’ rates of growth. Since, ranchers and farmers have been routinely administering antibiotics sub-therapeutically – or in doses too small to treat illness – to their livestock. According to The Pew Charitable Trusts, in 2011, the quantity of antibiotics sold for meat and poultry production in the U.S. was nearly four times greater than the quantity sold to treat sick Americans.
While widespread public alarm on this practice has only recently sounded, evidence has long suggested the human health risks associated with the sub-therapeutic use of antibiotics in food animals. In 1976, Dr. Stuart Levy and a team of researchers released astudy that documented the impact of antibiotic use on farm chickens and farm workers. Though disputed at the time, significant research has since supported these findings.Several researchers today have linked the excessive use of antibiotics in livestock with the development of drug resistance in humans.
There’s a new deli in rural Maine with a hotshot chef behind the counter. Foodies may know Matthew Secich’s name from stints and stars earned at Charlie Trotter’s, The Oval Room in Washington D.C., and The Alpenhof Lodge in Jackson Hole, Wyo.
Recently, Secich joined an Amish community and moved his family and his kitchen off the grid.
His new spot, Charcuterie, is a converted cabin tucked away in a pine forest in Unity, Maine, population 2,000. You have to drive down a long, snowy track to get there and you can smell the smokehouse before you can see it.
If you’ve followed your nose this far, inside, you’ll see ropes of andouille, kielbasa and sweet beef bologna hanging from hooks above the counter. There are no Slim Jims here, but rather handmade meat sticks, fat as cigars, sitting in a jar by a hand-cranked register.
Next time you go to the grocery store to buy meat, consider this: It would probably be much cheaper per pound to buy a whole animal directly from a farmer, eliminating the middleman.
But storage can be a problem. Most people don’t have enough freezer space for all that meat. A group in upstate New York wants to overcome that hurdle with an old concept: They’ve brought back the meat locker.
If a meat locker sounds gruesome, don’t worry. It’s really just a big walk-in freezer. Anybody who needs extra storage space can rent part of it.
Of the many stances and voices surrounding the meat industry, Temple Grandin’s is certainly worth a listen.
For nearly three decades, Temple Grandin has been leading the charge for animal welfare reform in the cattle industry from the inside out. I wanted to know exactly how she did it, and why she kept going in a world that didn’t always appreciate her. This is part one of a two-part look at the state of farm animal welfare.
Karmically, a beef steer leads a strange existence. Is it a bad one? Experts have looked at the philosophy behind that question, but I’m interested in a practical take. Day-to-day, do cattle live good lives? After working fifteen years in the cattle industry—first as a cowboy, then as a journalist—I know that the answer depends on how a steer’s handlers view animal welfare.