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Global Warming, Land Clearing And Antibiotics: Why We Should Consider Reducing Our Meat Intake

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Malta’s meat-free week is here to urge people to try abandon meat products for at least one week, something that seems like an alien concept to many people on the island.

The problems caused by the factory farm meat industry are wide-ranging, whether that’s contributing to greenhouse gases, speeding up climate change, or affecting our own health.

Lovin Malta had a look at the way that the meat industry impacts the planet, and its negative contribution to the growing effects of global warming, as well as other disadvantages of meat consumption. 

Apart from the more visible moral and ethical reasons as to why one should reduce their meat intake, there are other reasons which might not be so obvious.

The meat industry has been previously identified as a major contributor to greenhouse gases emissions that in turn contribute to global warming.

More and more, the business has been generating widespread scrutiny over its apparent links to climate change, as scientists and environmentalists urge individuals to at least cut down on their meat intake.

According to studies done by a climate scientist at the University of Illinois, it was found that meat is responsible for 60% of all greenhouse gases from food production and that greenhouses gases from animal-based foods are twice those of plant-based foods.

The research paper also found that raising animals to be killed and distributed is significantly worse for the environment and climate than the harvesting of fruits and vegetables.

The farmed animals would require very large areas of land for grazing, which creates yet another issue for the environment.

Remember when the Amazon was burning? A major cause behind the increasing blazes is cattle ranching, which sees large swathes of rainforest being eaten up to make way for crops.

“Most fires in the Amazonian region are set to clear land for agricultural purposes,” says National Geographic.

Large areas of forested land are often cleared to make place for the animals as well as the production of the feed that the livestock need. The research paper also outlines that the majority of the entire world’s cropland is actually used to feed the livestock, and not humans.

There are also health reasons in place for reducing intake, as antibiotics have been traced many times in meat products. 

This occurs when an animal is sick, and therefore would require the use of antibiotics. Professor Michael Borg had warned that “if you consume animal products that contain antibiotics residues, this is just as bad as taking a dose of an antibiotic”.

Moreover, resistance to antibiotics can be passed on to the consumer of the meat product, with the main worry being that “resistant bacteria from food could directly contaminate humans”.

For many vegetarians and vegans, the reasons for not eating meat only continue to increase, as the climate factor has created yet another mighty argument for leaving meat behind. 

No one is expecting a full-blown meat eater to completely abandon meat from their diet, but it must be noted that it can have extremely beneficial consequences for the environment in terms of climate change if people become more aware and start to reduce their intake.

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When Sasha (formerly known as Sasha Tas-Sigar) is not busy writing about environmental injustice, she's probably fighting for women's rights. Follow her at @saaxhaa on Instagram, and send her anything related to the environment, art, and women's rights at [email protected]

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