I am not a vegetarian but I confess to feeling some serious guilt when I slice up a steak or even chomp down a hamburger.
Environmental costs of meat production are tremendous. Compared to soy protein, meat requires 6-17 times as much land, hydrocarbon fuels (oil), pesticides, and produces 6-17 times as much CO2 and water pollution.
You can only compare the environmental costs of meat production to soy or other plant based proteins when the land will support the production of plant based proteins. Humans are incapable of digesting cellulose. We can live on plants but we require protein and digestible carbohydrates.
While we can’t digest cellulose, cows and other grazing animals can. These animals then do provide human sustenance in regions of the world where the land will not grow suitable human food crops. We can hardly ask people living in these regions to stop eating meat because it’s unhealthy for the environment when they have no alternative.
Meat is also largely bad for our health, colon cancer, clogged arteries, stroke, heart attacks, meat contributes to these diseases. Some meats are much worse than others. How an animal is raised affects how healthy it is for you.
One thing that really puzzles me, given the much larger resource requirement for animal based proteins, why is it that fake meat patties, soy based, are more expensive than real ground up cow?
I’m trying to cut back but the expense of what should be cheaper alternatives makes that difficult.