Saturday, August 4, 2012

Meatless Monday and Meat Consumption in the US.

Meatless Monday, USDA
It's hard to know how to take the infantile Republican reaction to the USDA's recommendation, now retracted, to eat less meat one day per week. Beef is the most water intensive food we have, so in a summer when half the country is suffering from drought conditions, it makes sense that we can do with one or two fewer hamburgers. As an article in Salon put it, it was as if the USDA had declared war on the American Way of Life.

From the Salon article: "Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, called the recommendation “heresy” and pledged to “have the double rib-eye Mondays instead.” Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, told his drought-stricken constituents that “I will eat more meat on Monday to compensate” for the USDA suggestion. And Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, proudly posted a photo to his Facebook page showing a Caligulian smorgasbord of animal flesh that his Senate colleagues were preparing to scarf down as a protest against USDA." It boggles the mind.  These are not leaders, these are children who cry when they don't get their own way. 

NPR recently presented a nice series of graphics about meat consumption in the US. Here's what it takes to make a quarter pounder. 

meat consumption in the US, what it takes to make a quarter pounder
What it takes to make a quarter pounder.
Though US beef consumption has gone down in recent years -- chicken is now the meat of choice -- the average American still eats 270 lbs of meat per year, which is 2.7 times the global average. That's an average  of about 3/4 of a pound of meat per day -- or 3 quarter-pounder burgers per day. Gad, yes we can stand to cut back.
meat consumption in the US

Here's a nice summary video that explains the hidden costs of hamburgers from the Center for Investigative Reporting

I'm definitely down with Meatless Monday -- and more -- how about you?

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