Don't deny us our daily bacon - Sindhu Manjesh

RK Pachauri’s comments in Britain — suggesting that people give up eating meat once a week to help tackle global warming — has brought home a debate that has been on for a while. There’s no denying that cattle being reared for human consumption are part of the climate change equation largely because of methane emissions, but reducing livestock seems a rather simplistic solution to a complex challenge, the contours of which are still being sketched.
   We cannot have a one-size-fitsall solution in a varied world. Dietary patterns of people are closely wedded to the cultural and geographical factors that shape their reality. Lately, the calls for eating less meat are being made in the name of ethical living and here is where we enter dangerous territory. Moral judgments about people cannot be passed because of what they choose to eat. And by the way, what does one do about dairy cattle? Should we give up milk, yoghurt, butter and cheese as well and say goodbye to some of the best sources of protein?
   There are some who argue that the land used for cattle grazing and the amount of grain used to feed the animals is something the world cannot afford any more. How about this: there are countries — like Britain, for instance, and by no means the only one — where large swathes of land are fit enough only for grazing and unsuited to produce any agricultural crop of value? It is not without reason that Britain’s food economy is secured by its meat and dairy industry. Try asking countries to risk their food security and economy in the name of global warming; it’s not as practicable as it sounds.
   And then, of course, you have the free riders who have hopped onto this ‘No Meat, No Heat’ bandwagon to lobby their own agendas. Like the vegetarianism fascists who call themselves the PETA. Their mixed-up morality is best exemplified in an ad campaign they recently ran which equated feeding children meat with child abuse!

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