North Texas Daily

Is the meat industry what you think it is?

Is the meat industry what you think it is?

Is the meat industry what you think it is?
April 04
12:34 2017

Being a vegetarian is probably harder than it needs to be in states like Texas. Three years into my journey of being a vegetarian, I have been called everything from a hippie to a communist, to even “un-American.” Why these people felt that way, simply because I don’t want to eat a pig or a cow, is beyond me. But being a vegetarian is one of the best things I have ever done for my health, and is a contribution to rectifying greenhouse emissions and global warming everywhere.

After taking an environmental ethics class, studying “Food Inc.” and campaigning to end dogfighting – beginning in my freshman year – I was driven to do more animal abuse research and what really goes into the burgers I ate once a day. Among other perks, it has been proven that vegetarians and vegans have smaller carbon footprints than the average meat eater.

While this is an attractive enough reason for some to eliminate meat from their diets, the treatment of animals and the sheer amount of hormones put into animals themselves is what pushes more people over the edge. Cows and pigs are frequently overfed and given growth hormones to aid in the animals’ weight gain, giving the breeder more bang for their buck.

Also, the meat that people eat is not always what we think it is. The meat we buy in the grocery store isn’t always the premium cut we assume we are purchasing. According to an ABC interview with a former United States Department of Agriculture scientist, 70 percent of meats bought in grocery stores are pumped with “pink slime,” or beef trimmings sprayed with ammonia, to make meat look more red.

The issue with America’s meat industry is the lack of regulation. While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulates many things such as cosmetics, medication or tobacco products, it doesn’t regulate most meat or poultry products in a significant manner. With this lack of regulation, the meat industry can do what it wants to fatten cows up and make meat look redder or “more appetizing.”

In 2013, the meat industry produced 25.8 billion pounds of beef and 23.2 billion pounds of pork. In 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimated that 9 percent of greenhouse gasses came from agriculture alone. While this number may seem insignificant, climate change is a very real thing.

This article is not for the shame of meat eaters or to convince you to stop eating meat entirely. While the health benefits for becoming a vegetarian are undeniable, there are many cases where people who stop eating meat can’t get enough protein from other sources and develop an iron deficiency. As it is with any life change, do your research before embarking on, or even criticizing, vegetarianism.

Featured Illustration: Samuel Wiggins

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kara jobmann

kara jobmann

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1 Comment

  1. Rita B
    Rita B October 10, 11:30

    Check your facts. 70% of GROUND BEEF was treated with pink slime, not all meats. This is biased, fake news.

    Reply to this comment

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