The economic basis of the vegediet – how much does it cost us to eat meat?


People who have given up eating meat often emphasize that what counts is not only the aspect of healthy nutrition based on plant food, but also the ecological and economic aspect of vegetarianism / veganism. All these aspects of the vege diet are closely related. The choice of organic plant products produced in an eco-friendly way is a support for farmers who respect the planet. 

At first glance, the products manufactured industrially are cheaper – meat from industrial farming, vegetables and fruits from extensive plantations fertilized with abundant artificial fertilizers, etc. Nevertheless, from a wider perspective, the choice of food produced in such a way is very costly – from the perspective of consumer health and the state of the natural environment. They are therefore only apparent savings that contribute to the deterioration of the state of our planet. 


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It started after the Second World War 

After the Second World War, agriculture intensified. Plant production has been intensified through the use of fertilizers and pesticides and the mechanization of agriculture. The animals ceased to be bred in accordance with ecology – free range, in the meadow. Farmers sought to increase the production of eggs, meat and milk, because it was associated with a high demand for cheap food. 

Today, we have no doubts that this method of production generates the so-called hidden costs associated with the negative impact of food production methods on the natural environment and consumers’ health. Meanwhile, most of the food is still produced in this way. Organic food is still a minority on store shelves. 

About two-thirds of farm animals are buried in the intensive farming system, which consists in bringing about rapid development to get as much meat as possible in the shortest possible time. Intensive farming uses large amounts of soy, cereals and other plants. In this way, high-protein plants are in a sense wasted. At this point, it should be added that at the same time millions of people suffer from famine or malnutrition. 

Growing demand for meat and animal feed 

The increase in demand for meat leads to the fact that more and more areas are developed for agricultural production. However, cereals and pulses are not intended for consumers but are intended for animal feed. It does not make the slightest sense from a wider and long-term perspective, but meat producers do not care – they are profit-oriented entrepreneurs. Until now, industrial production has not been banned, so they do not break the law. 

Production of greenhouse gases 

It is estimated that agriculture contributes to the formation of 14.5% of greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide and methane – on a global scale. Greenhouse gases are produced in the process of animal and animal waste digestion. The reason for release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere is also cutting forests for cultivation, which leads to the release of gases stored in soil and vegetation. 

The world can not afford industrial farming 

Industrial animal husbandry is extremely energy-consuming – it requires twice as much energy as in the case of traditional animal husbandry methods. The energy consumption of animal husbandry results, among others, from the necessity of growing animal feed production. Intensive agriculture is also a source of pollution of soils and waters. Intensive breeding of animals also leads to the amount of manure. They can not be used fully as a natural fertilizer. The droppings are highly concentrated, but the amount is too large to be used rationally. In addition, manure from farms can be a source of pathogenic pathogens (eg Escherichia coli) and heavy metals and pesticides. These types of contamination pose a threat, especially if farms are located in the vicinity of drinking water intakes. 

Another problem related to animal breeding is abuse of antibiotics. This, in turn, may lead to increased resistance of bacteria to the action of drugs. It may pose a threat to public health. 

What is this threatening? 

Global climate change can lead to higher ambient temperatures, reduced access to water, and thus to crop hinders. Intensive breeding of animals is one of the main factors leading to serious environmental problems. 

Vegetarianism as a manifesto 

Based on the above data, it can be concluded that vegetarianism, and especially veganism, is a kind of manifesto of people who oppose the intensification of agriculture and the industrial breeding of animals. They are people who support organic food of plant origin. Vegetarianism is not a figment, just as the scientific data is not inventive, indicating the harmful effect of the intensification of agriculture on the environment. Scientists no longer have any doubts about it. The problem is that not everyone can be convinced in advance, and apocalyptic visions of famine and food shortages and difficult access to drinking water can become a reality for future generations. 


You can read also: Pea protein – only for vegetarians?

Posted on: May 13, 2019

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