Eat Less Meat. Save the World.

A few weeks ago, in “The Ethicist,” Ariel Kaminer asked readers of this paper’s Magazine to explain why it’s ethical to eat meat. The contest generated around 3,000 submissions, and as a judge I read about 30 of them. (Here are the responses from the winner and the finalists.)

A fascinating discussion. But you need not have a philosophy about meat-eating to understand that we — Americans, that is — need to do less of it. In fact, only if meat were produced at no or little expense to the environment, public health or animal welfare (as, arguably, some of it is), would our decisions about whether to raise and kill animals for food come down to ethics.

The purely pragmatic reasons to eat less meat (and animal products in general) are abundant. And while I’ve addressed them before, I’ll continue until the floods come to Manhattan.

Read the rest of this colum here.

Posted in Vegan


  1. Fritzdecatze said...

    I like the idea of a small portion of meat mixed with a bunch of vegetablesWorks for the ChineseWorks for me

  2. PZuppo said...

    There are so many valid reasons to drastically reduce this country’s consumption of meat. As we are now aware, Americans toss out 40% of their food! Out into the trash goes a piece of chicken, pork, or beef that consumed a huge amount of energy and WATER before it went into the trash. Indeed, we are all aware of the horrid conditions our animals are subject to because our livestock production are now in the hands of large, profit geared agricultural companies, of which there are only a handful (theocracy). For this industry, increasing wealth is their form of worship as they allow animal feces runoff and blood enter our water supplies further destroying what little water we have left. This development is unconscionable yet so many Americans simply consider it to be "that’s the way it works" depicting the apathy of the fat, sick American. Long gone are the local farms and local butchers as they have been sued and threatened out of their businesses. To fight global warming, there are many ways that each of us should consider. These areas can easily be found by following the money trail and this is a very sad characteristic associated with the United States and with being an American. It is pathetically embarrassing.

  3. mae123 said...

    As a vegetarian living in Oklahoma (and believe me, it’s not easy being vegetarian here), I am happy to know there are people out there like Bittman on my side. For me the process of becoming vegetarian was less a conscientious decision and more a natural evolution. I wonder if there are others out there like me. After a lifetime of eating meat, I noticed myself enjoying it less and less. And found myself going to the farmers market and initiating Meatless Monday’s into the family menu. Then my college age kids discovered falafel, hummus and the glory of beans … and well, one day we woke up a couple years later and said, "hey, we’re vegetarians." (Although my son and husband do occasionally eat grass fed beef and locally raised chicken.) My only complaint is the lack of good vegetarian cooking shows. But I hear one is in the making. I have owned "How to Cook Everything" for years and could not live without it: so refreshing to find a recipe for pecan pie that didn’t call for shortening and corn syrup. I hope to get "How To Cook Everything Vegetarian" soon. In the meantime, thanks again to Bittman for reassuring us lonely herbivores stuck here in the middle of cattle country that we are not alone, there is life beyond Big Mac.

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