The World Health Organisation has announced that processed meat is as likely to give you cancer than cigarettes. Now, before you close this webpage, I’d like to say that this isn't another cancer scare story like those that have been in the ‘Daily Mail’ for the past twenty years. The WHO is nothing like the ‘Daily Mail’. They are the best minds in science and are probably worth listening to. However, I’m not going to continue this post along the same lines as it’s up to you if you want to believe the WHO. Personally, I think there might be some truth in it but it’s not going to stop me from eating processed meat.
I recently watched two fascinating documentaries which caused me to think differently about the food that I eat. They did not however, make me change what I eat. The first was the amazing ‘Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret’ (2014). Written and directed by Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn, ‘Cowspiracy’ follows the shocking journey of one man trying to spread light on the sustainability of agriculture and its impact on the environment. As he attempts to speak to environmental groups and government officials, he witnesses a clear disregard for the fatal impact that agriculture has on our planet. The documentary enlightens us to facts and statistics that would make anyone with green ambitions stop eating meat and although the environmental concerns were shocking, it was the denial of the US government and groups such as Greenpeace that was most astonishing.
The second was the 2005 Shaun Monson documentary ‘Earthlings’. Narrated by Joaquin Phoenix, ‘Earthlings’ uses hidden camera footage to show us how badly we treat animals and use them purely for capitalist gain. We witness the cruelty that farmers, zoo keepers, circus performers, butchers, fishermen, breeders and scientists perform on helpless animals. The footage is very upsetting and actually disgusting at times. If you’ve ever thought about vegetarianism, a viewing of ‘Earthlings’ would almost definitely make you cut out meat completely. For me, seeing the way animals are treated made me want to become vegetarian or even vegan. However, the footage shown is predominantly American and over ten years old. In Britain, I would like to hope the European legislation stops this type of cruelty from happening.
Cutting meat from your diet isn't such a bad thing. Forget the claims that certain meat gives you cancer and focus on two things: Environmental impact and killing animals for consumption. There’s no doubt that raising cattle is a bigger cause of global warming than every other contributor put together. For example, eating one hamburger is the equivalent of two months of five minute showers. And, it’s not simply the gases expelled from the cattle. It’s the deforestation for the land needed, the use of water, the transportation costs, the packaging production, the production of the feed for the animals on top of the gases emitted by the animals. We do need to face the fact that if we want to tackle climate change, we need to look at our meat consumption.
Humans are animals. No, i’m, not being extremely leftwing again. It’s a simple fact of nature. Cows, chickens, pigs, sheep all have the same right to live on earth as we do. But, for some reason our lives are worth far more than theirs. We don’t seem to be bothered by killing a lamb but killing a human is completely wrong and illegal. Forget about being ‘top of the food chain’ or using christian doctrine to tell me how animals were put on earth to feed humans. Humans arrogantly control the planet with no legitimate claim but for intelligence. Dare I suggest that everyone reading this should watch ‘Planet of the Apes’ (1968) and see the roles reversed. After all, that is the moral and overriding theme of the successful movie franchise.