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Ten Billion Cows

Actually that should read 10,000,000,000 livestock animals per year but it wouldn't make such a good title. That's how many human beings kill.

Global warming is a real problem. After energy production livestock is the biggest contributor to climate altering gasses. 18% of greenhouse gasses are produced by livestock. That's almost one fifth and is more than transport.

But the interesting thing is that the livestock are killing people in other ways. Experts recommend that people eat half a pound of meat a week. That is healthy. More than that and you are running in the direction of "lifestyle" diseases like diabetes, heart disease, strokes and some cancers.

But in the USA people eat 7 times that amount. And that is the average!

It only took 100 years for humanity to move from being "locavores" to being mass produced, industrialised, junk food eaters. It is an industry and it has powerful vested interest in selling meat. Just imagine if the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommended that people eat 50% of the meat that they currently consume. This would have a devastating effect on the industry and it wouldn't be enough. So they won't.

People need to eat more plants. That is about the summary. Plants are far more healthy for people and the environment.

Mark Bittman spoke at a TED conference about these issues and the talk is definitely worth watching.

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