Everyone who knows me will tell you the same, I’m really French, especially when it comes to food! I love food, I love meat, cheese, wine… I just love eating. If I listened to myself I would spend all of my time at the table. A good rare steak, some French fries, and nice smelly cheese to finish – yummy!
A few months ago, I watched Cowspiracy on Netflix… and what a big slap in my face that was! I had to watch it a couple of times to actually understand everything (I struggled a bit to get my head around the numbers with those annoying American units haha), but it totally changed the way I saw food (and believe me, that was not easy!!). The documentary explores the impact of industrial agriculture on the environment.
Like one of the filmmakers, I previously saw Al Gore’s movie “An inconvenient truth”, which had an effect on me a few years ago. It made me realize what we were doing around the world, to our planet, our home. I’ve tried to be a bit better since watching that by saving water, being careful with electricity etc. I knew I was not going to make much of a difference, but if everyone thinks like that, we will never change anything! If everyone at his level makes an effort – even just a little bit, multiply it by millions or billions of people and the impact on the world would be huge. It’s also quite frustrating when you see the massive waste of electricity around you every day (why do offices have to keep the lights on the WHOLE NIGHT when they are f**king empty!!).
Cowspiracy demonstrates that industrial agriculture has a HUGE impact on our environment.
“Livestock and their byproducts account for at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year or 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.”
“2,500 gallons of water are needed to produce 1 pound of beef.”
“Livestock or livestock feed occupies 1/3 of the earth’s ice-free land.”
This data came from the documentary (you can read more on their website. I never even suspected that industrial agriculture had such a big impact on the environment at all. Just to have an idea, 2500 gallons is around 9500L, which represents an average of 140 showers… to produce a bloody steak!!!
I’m not going to redo the whole documentary here, I strongly advise everyone to watch it. Personally, three things really shocked me:
- The amount of food we produce – cereals – to feed these animals. Every day, we destroy the forest to plant cereals to feed animals so we can enjoy a steak. I was going to say a nice piece of beef, but not even, because those animals are not supposed to eat cereals, but grass. So to compensate, producers stuff these poor animals with antibiotics and some other shit! And the worse thing, this meat is eaten by a really small % of the population (no, everyone cannot afford to buy meat every single day!). So us, humans, rather than destroy our planet and spend millions to feed animals when there are millions and millions of people STARVING in the world. Feeling guilty? Well, I did!
- The space used to feed us is massive: “To feed a person on an all plant-based vegan diet for a year requires just one-sixth of an acre of land. To feed that same person on a vegetarian diet that includes eggs and dairy requires three times as much land. To feed an average U.S. citizen’s high-consumption diet of meat, dairy and eggs require 18 times as much land. This is because you can produce 37,000 pounds of vegetables on one-and-a-half acres but only 375 pounds of meat on that same plot of land.” That’s pretty mental I think! We are literally destroying our planet and plenty of creatures just to fill our stomachs.
- The last thing is about milk. I’m just going to quote “The purpose of cow’s milk is to turn a 65-pound calf into a 700-pound cow as rapidly as possible. Cow’s milk IS baby calf growth fluid. No matter what you do to it, that is what the stuff is. Everything in that white liquid – the hormones, the lipids, the proteins, the sodium, the growth factors like IGF-I – are all there to start that calf growing into a great big cow, or else they would not be there. Whether you pour it on your cereal as a liquid, churn it into butter, curdle it into yogurt, ferment it into cheese, or add sugar and freeze it to make ice cream… It’s baby calf growth fluid!”. Honestly, I don’t know if that’s true, scientifically speaking. I found some articles online proving it isn’t (this one for example). But still, when you just think about it – as a normal person – it sort of make sense.
I could also speak about the fact of treat animals the way we do, like vulgar objects with no other purpose in life than die to feed us… but I won’t go on this path right now.
Cowspiracy is a big apology to veganism, there is no doubt about it. Their only solution is to avoid everything coming from animals, otherwise we are doomed, period. I don’t think we need to go that extreme. Some facts and numbers are probably exaggerated and not accurate, but they raised a point. We eat a lot of meat, too much, and let’s be honest, more than we need. With a better and more varied diet, we could help our planet, help find the famine, and help ourselves.
After watching this documentary, my wife and I decided to eat less meat. We are not going to turn vegetarian or vegan or whatever, we don’t need to put a label on it. Plus we don’t want it to be a pain for other people; we eat what we want when we want. We just want to make a little gesture for the planet and for us. And to be honest, I thought it would be harder than that! Since we decided to change, I’ve been looking for new recipes and new ingredients, and we are enjoying it! We have meat from time to time, but nothing compared to before.
A few months ago, I pretty much could not conceive a meal without meat… so if I did it, everyone can do it.
More info on Cowspiracy.com or click here to buy it. I didn’t read it yet, but you can also read The Sustainability Secret: Rethinking Our Diet to Transform the World from the same guys. I strongly recommend as well “An Inconvenient Truth”, available on DVD, Amazon Video or as a book.
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