Today,our world population is estimated to be 7 billion (United Nation 7).There is no doubt that population needs to feed, whether it is meator vegetables or grains. But researches about environmental andeconomic sustenance have led to other discoveries which have capturedour attention. Meat, the favorite dish of a good number of thepopulation, has been in the spotlight. Medical researchers haveconnected excessive meat eating to some chronic illness that peopleare suffering from, today (Goldbloom and Lawrence 279). Also, climatechange lobby groups have also connected livestock production toglobal warming. Therefore,my thesis statement is that the rearing of livestock and its meat ismore of a problem than a blessing in our society.
Rifkinin his article Big,Bad beef,argues how the consumption of beef has resulted in more harm than thesupposedly good it ought to bring. What captures me as the mostcompelling in his article is the argument that:
“Thebeef addiction of the U.S and other industrialized nations has alsocontributed to the global food crisis. Cattle and other livestockconsume more than 71% of the grain produced in the U.S and about athird of the world’s total grain harvest-while nearly a billionpeople suffer from chronic under nutrition. If the U.S land now usedto grow livestock feed were converted to grow grain for humanconsumption, we could feed an additional 400 million people”(Rifkin 360)
Ishuman life not more valuable than anything? Rifkin arguments aboutthe environment, climate, and human health, are centered towards thesanctity of human life. How rude would it be, if the rearing oflivestock was foregone on the basis of adopting either of theaforementioned factors instead of the hunger sustenance agenda? Thatwas the criteria I used to choose the most compelling argument. If itis true that by using the livestock’s feed farms that we canproduce food that will be feed up to 400 million hungry people, whynot cut just a little beef rearing.
Bydoing that, we will also reduce the negative effects that livestockrearing is associated with. I have never heard that a person diedbecause he/she did not eat meat, but how many have we heard that werehospitalized because, they became obese, got a heart attack, highblood pressure or arteriosclerosis and some eventually died becauseof meat consumption? There is no doubt that there is a good number,it such facts that make some of Rifkin’s arguments even morecompelling.
Oneargument though seems light, and if it were to be effected, it wouldchange nothing. The recommendation that “Congress must passlegislation to ensure that ranchers pay the market value for leasedpublic land,” is less effective because the rates will be forwardedto prices which in turn will be borne by consumers (Rifkin 361). Thechange in prices will not adversely affect meat consumption peoplewill psychologically adjusts to them, and the culture of eating meatwill continue as normal (Landsburg 210).
Thus,I agree with Rifkin that reduction in meat consumption by 50% canhelp free land that will be used for the production of food for thehungry population, restore the global environment and reduce meathealth related illnesses. I found Rifkin argument about theeradication of hunger more compelling as human life is sacred and ifwe could do anything to support and sustain it that should be ouronly goal and motive. On the other hand, the argument about subsidiesis less compelling. This is because elimination of subsidies willonly just lead to increase in beef prices which people will get usedto, after a while.
Goldbloom,R, and S. Lawrence. PreventingDisease: Beyond the Rhetoric.New York, NY: Springer New York, 2012. Print.
Landsburg,Steven . Pricetheory and applications.8th ed. Mason, OH: South-Western/Cengage Learning, 2011.Print.
UnitedNations, and United Nations. Populationstudies: 261.New York, NY: UN, 2007. Print.