Should We Eat Meat? Evolution and Consequences of Modern Carnivory
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Meat eating is often a contentious subject, whether considering the technical, ethical, environmental, political, or health-related aspects of production and consumption.
This book is a wide-ranging and interdisciplinary examination and critique of meat consumption by humans, throughout their evolution and around the world. Setting the scene with a chapter on meat’s role in human evolution and its growing influence during the development of agricultural practices, the book goes on to examine modern production systems, their efficiencies, outputs, and impacts. The major global trends of meat consumption are described in order to find out what part its consumption plays in changing modern diets in countries around the world. The heart of the book addresses the consequences of the "massive carnivory" of western diets, looking at the inefficiencies of production and at the huge impacts on land, water, and the atmosphere. Health impacts are also covered, both positive and negative. In conclusion, the author looks forward at his vision of “rational meat eating”, where environmental and health impacts are reduced, animals are treated more humanely, and alternative sources of protein make a higher contribution.
Should We Eat Meat? is not an ideological tract for or against carnivorousness but rather a careful evaluation of meat's roles in human diets and the environmental and health consequences of its production and consumption. It will be of interest to a wide readership including professionals and academics in food and agricultural production, human health and nutrition, environmental science, and regulatory and policy making bodies around the world.
conversion efficiencies of species at higher trophic level feeding on the species used for fishmeal are significantly lower than in salmonid or crustacean aquaculture (Wijkström 2009). Moreover, plant substitutes (including oils derived from soybeans and rapeseed) can replace part of fish oil, and breeding has already lowered the demand for fishmeals and oils in fish feed: global aquaculture production has continued to grow, while the demand for fish-derived feeds has remained flat. But the need
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rate of non-fatal occupational injuries (per 100 full-time employees working 40 hours a week for 50 weeks) for all industries is 3.6, 2.2 for mining but 6.0 for animal slaughtering and 5.3 for slaughtering and 5.8 for meat processing (BLS 2012). Increased processing led to a substantial expansion of unskilled labor force in meatpacking plants where workers perform monotonous tasks (such as identical cuts with large knives). A major reason for a higher degree of processing was (as already noted)
pollution, and a growing emitter of greenhouse gases. As long as per capita meat consumption remained relatively low (in traditional agricultures that fed most of the people, this was the case until the latter half of the 19th century), livestock’s contribution to these local, regional and global environmental transformations remained modest. Indeed, a strong case can be made that the Old World’s livestock was not only an integral part of traditional agroecosystems but, as one of its