Responding to a vegetarian who attacked meat eating, Diana Rodgers wrote, in “Eating Paleo Can Save the World:”
If we are going to raise herbivores for soil health, let’s eat them. They provide great nutrition, and improve the soil. We also use cows for many other everyday products like insulin. When you compare both the nutritional benefits of grass-fed beef and its positive impact on our soils, beef wins hands down. Properly raised herbivores produce urine and manure, which go back into the soil as fertilizer. Their grazing triggers new grass growth. Their trampling on the ground, (when managed properly) along with their manure and grazing actually help sequester carbon. This is so much better for our soils (and for our health) than the factory production of fake meat-like products made from mono-cropped grains.
There’s another environmental benefit to consuming pastured-raised animals: they do not need to compete with humans for cropland. Goats, pigs, chickens, cows, and many other animals can thrive on marginal land that is unsuitable for vegetable or grain production.
Consider the resources needed to produce a product like Tofurky. There’s the fossil fuels needed to fertilize and make herbicides to grow the soy and wheat. Then there’s the water needed to irrigate these crops. You then have to use more fossil fuels to harvest and transport the raw materials to a processing facility. This facility is made of concrete, steel, and uses florescent lights, and is probably not powered with solar energy. The processing requires lots of energy and water. The product is then packaged in plastic, stored in energy-requiring climate-control. It is then shipped to stores, using more fossil fuel. What isn’t sold is wasted.
Let’s compare this to grass-fed beef from a local farm. The cows eat grass (free), yes they drink water, but they also pee a lot of that out and poop, which improves improve the soil (bonus), and provides nutrient-dense, bio-available protein. How is this process less sustainable than making meat substitutes?
Is the real issue because you don’t want to kill a cow?
I think the real issue is actually an emotional disconnect. Let me point out that we humans are animals. We are interdependent on the web of nature. We are naturally omnivores. Our bodies thrive on animal proteins in addition to plants. Life can not happen without death.
Yes. But at root of all this analysis is a cognitive ability: the ability to integrate knowledge.
We must be able to honestly and objectively connect various fields of knowledge and endeavor, even if seemingly unrelated, so we can act based on causal relationships in a total picture of reality and human life.
As opposed to how things are done today: we are trained to not integration or to outright disintegrate our knowledge and minds, we need to be trained to integrate from the beginning to the end of our education.
Integration — combined with induction and honesty — can save the world