Is Meat Worth It?

Huntington Meat Packing Inc., (no, not Huntingdon Life Sciences – who also torture and kill animals) issued a recall of almost five million pounds of dead cow’s flesh; after an earlier recall of 864,000 pounds. That’s a total of 5.8 million pounds of muscle tissue recalled due to possible E. coli 0157:H7 containing fecal contamination.

Since the beginning of 2010, four companies have issued recalls of their tainted and dangerous offerings.

West Missouri Beef

14,000 lbs. “beef”  (E. coli)


1,263,754 +  17,235 +  23,754 = 1,304,743 lbs “pork” (salmonella)


2,574 lbs “beef” (E. coli)


5.8 million lbs “beef” (E. coli)

That brings the US to 7.1 million pounds of “food” sold, contaminated with infectious disease in 2010. And it’s February.

Animal exploitation is inefficient enough by itself, even more when large amounts of animals’ bodies are wasted due to disease.

7.1 million pounds is a pound of flesh for 2% of America’s population. It’s over 1/3 ounce of carcass per person in the US.

Let’s break down what that means in terms of environmental waste:

One pound of cow = 16 pounds of grain

One pound of pig = 6 pounds of grain

(source: Diet For A New America, Robbins 1987)

92.8 million pounds beef grain + 7,800,000 pig grain = 100.6 million pounds of wasted grain.

1 pound of beef = 5,214 gallons of water

1 pound pork = 1,630 gallons of water

(Source: Stockholm International Water Institute)

30.2 billion gallons of water (beef) + 2.1 billion gallons of water (pork) = 32.3b gallons wasted water.

Each cow emits 22.3 pounds CO2 eq GHG/pound flesh

(Source: appropedia,org/beef)

Each pig emits 2.47 pounds CO2 eq GHG/pound flesh

(Source: Jean-Yves Dourmad)

129,340,00 pounds CO2 eq GHG emissions (beef) + 3,211,000 pounds CO2 eq GHG (pork) = 132,551,000 pounds of CO2 eq GHG emissions emitted.

Who knows how many animals were killed to obtain the 7.1 million pounds of flesh, but their lives were wasted, too.

But that’s the thing, is the “meat” really wasted? It was all sold, and whatever hasn’t been frozen has been eaten already. Whatever has been frozen, very little will actually be recalled, considering the sourcing chain and resulting difficulty maintaining traceability. So really, most of the 7.1 million pounds of infected animal carcass was sold to and eaten by an ignorant public. This is the result of a deeply flawed system that cares little about people – even less for the animals or the environment.  The price of ignorance could be sickness, paralysis, or even death – but is at least a bad taste in your mouth. That’s the fecal matter.

So, to recap: animals are crammed together in dense populations resulting in disease. Once slaughtered, their bodies are eviscerated in such a way that covers everything in shit. These shit-covered animals’ carcasses are sold all over the country for months putting the unknowing public at risk. What’s left is recalled and sold as pet food or destroyed. Nothing significant is done to prevent this from happening in the future and year after year people get sick or die from simply eating. And 99% of the people in the U.S. continue to support this cycle. Most know their food is diseased. “That’s why you cook it, to kill the bacteria, duh!”

By the way, vegans are the irrational ones.

The Journal of Infectious Disease reported in 2005 that 69% of “pork” and “beef” samples acquired from different regional markets tested positive for fecal matter containing E. coli.  According to USDA predictions for livestock in 2010, annual meat consmption will be:

~50 lbs per capita “pork” = 15b lbs

~65 lbs per capita “beef “= 19.5b lbs

(Source: USDA Agricultural Projections 2010-2019)

If 69% of both these products are contaminated with fecoli (made up word), that means 13.5 billion pounds of “beef” and 10.4 billion pounds of “pork” should be subject to recall this year. 7.1 million doesn’t seem that big anymore, does it? Even if we are only one month in.

92% of chicken carcasses tested were contaminated, with fecoli also. With 85 pounds projected per capita consumption, that is 25.5 billion pounds total consumption for 2010. Of that 25.5 billion, 23.46 billion will be [statistically] unfit for consumption.

The largest “meat” recall in the history of the US was of 143.4 million pounds of beef (instigated by an undercover HSUS investigation) recalled in 2008 for possible BSE by Hallmark – also located in California. It also took place in February.

One might conclude, considering the enormous environmental toll animal exploitation necessitates, that a good idea would be to prevent this environmentally costly product of slavery from being covered in shit on it’s way to the consumer…then again one might not. Or four might not. This year.

Considering the danger inherent in consuming animal flesh in the US, one might conclude that abstaining from consuming these products is a good idea… then again, one might not. Or 99% of the population might not.

Considering the moral implications of exploiting animals, one might conclude that abstaining from supporting that exploitation is our moral obligation…then again one might not. Those who don’t usually eat a generous amount of poop, everyday.

Meat can taste good if seasoned properly, but is it worth eating shit to enjoy it? (“We didn’t fight our way to the top of the food chain to eat broccoli! We did it so we could eat shit! We’re #1, we’re #1…”)

Don’t eat excrement. Go vegan. For the animals, for yourself, for the environment. It’s really the least you can do.

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