Monday, 23 December 2013

Meat consumption: The facts (infographic)

I'm a bit of a yoyo-vegetarian. I became a vegetarian at the age of two, then sixteen years later at university, while other people were taking an introspective look at the meaning of life, God and the universe, I brooded over my vegetarianism. While morally I'm not okay with the majority of factory farming or industrial agriculture, I decided to still eat meat if conditions necessitated it. For example, I can travel all four corners of the globe without living off bread and I no longer feel like the awkward dinner guest who has to remind the host that I'm vegetarian. Most of all, I no longer feel marginalised at a BBQ!

Recent news and studies, however, have thrown a spanner into the works of my weak-carnivorism.

While I don't eat much meat, and certainly don't feel the need for it, meat is a staple in so many cultures' diets. Worryingly though, there is a positive correlation between income level and intake of animal protein, meaning that the poorest, who could benefit the most from the high concentration of vital nutrients provided by fish and meat, lose out. The USA, Kuwait and Australia are right at the top of the list, and per capita consumption is projected to rise in the future. In the UK, we're already eating more than the recommended intake. I've created an infographic below to outline some impacts of meat production and consumption, both on the environment and the body. Statistics taken from the OECD FAO Agricultural Outlook and  BBC/WWF.

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