Eat Meat! (2)

In today’s developed world, average people can achieve a higher standard of living than has ever before been possible. In fact, the difference between an “elite” standard of living and that enjoyed by people of average, or a little more than average, means, has dwindled to near-insignificance. It is fair to say that today, an “elite” American has little more chance of living a satisfying and happy life than the average American.

Our “elites” consider this situation intolerable, a fact that explains much of our current political turmoil. Liberals are trying to drive down the standard of living for all Americans. True, their own standards will suffer slightly. But if you are a multi-millionaire, how much do you care if your electricity bill doubles? The salient fact is that a general decline in standards of living will increase the disparity between the “elite” and the rest of us. That, I think, is the goal of many liberal policies, and the main reason why most rich people are liberals.

Today, a person of ordinary means can toss some steaks on the grill on Memorial Day. That is a good thing, in most people’s opinion, but it galls “elite” leftists, who eat steak themselves but are annoyed that the rest of us can afford to do so, too. Hence the Left’s war on meat, the point of which is to drive up prices so that they can afford steak, pork chops, bacon, etc., but you can’t.

As always, “the environment,” in the form of CO2 emissions, is the excuse. But does that actually make any sense? One of the alternatives to cows, pigs and chickens is lab-grown meat, which has been touted as an environmentally-friendly substitute for the real thing. But a recent study casts doubt on that claim:

Lab-grown meat has been touted as a way to save the planet, but a new study suggests its green credentials are not as solid as many believe.

Researchers have revealed that lab-grown or ‘cultured’ meat, produced by cultivating animal cells, is up to 25 times worse for the climate than real beef.

Which is to say, it produces up to 25 times the CO2 emissions. What are we talking about here?

Lab-grown meat is different from plant-based ‘meat’, which is not meat at all but uses vegan ingredients such as vegetable protein to replicate the look and taste of real meat.

Lab-grown or ‘cultured’ meat is generally seen as more ethical than real meat because it requires a sample of body tissue rather than the death of the animal, although many vegans and vegetarians will not touch it because it is made of animal.

I won’t touch it either, but not for these reasons:

In the study, the scientists estimated the energy required for stages of lab-grown meat’s production, from the ingredients making up the growth medium and the energy required to power laboratories, and compared this with beef.

They largely focused on the quantity of growth medium components, including glucose, amino acids, vitamins, growth factors, salts and minerals.

They found the global warming potential of lab-grown meat ranged from 246 to 1,508 kg of CO2 equivalent per kilogram of lab-grown meat, which is four to 25 times greater than the average global warming potential of retail beef.

Whatever. If it didn’t come from a cow, a pig, a sheep, or a fowl or fish, I don’t want to eat it.

And scientists are pushing back against the Left’s attack on meat:

[T]he war on meat is only just getting going – and it has some very powerful supporters. ESG (environmental, social and governance) rankings and corporate social responsibility checklists reward companies for creating vegan products, even if nobody buys them. Meat taxes are being considered to price it out of our reach. The Dutch government is spending €25bn (£22bn) to buy out its livestock farmers and close down their farms. But it’s all based on some very dubious pseudoscience.

Now the scientific establishment has begun to fight back. Last month, over 900 scientists signed the Dublin Declaration, a milestone in the defence of livestock farming. The declaration explains how ruminants, such as cows and sheep, rescue marginal land.

“Well-managed livestock systems applying agro-ecological principles can generate many other benefits, including carbon sequestration, improved soil health, biodiversity, watershed protection and the provision of important ecosystem services.” They add that a drastic reduction in animals “could actually incur environmental problems on a large scale”. It will also hurt three billion of the world’s poorest, who could use the iron and protein that comes from real meat.

Plus, meat is nutritious, and it tastes good. The author of the Telegraph piece explains the war on meat with a classical reference:

I wonder if even the most compelling rational arguments for meat will wilt when faced with such furious medieval zealotry. The motivation is not really saving the climate, or concerns about nitrogen – it’s simply that something so nutritious and delicious should be being enjoyed at all.

As Macauley wrote of the Puritans: they “hated bear-baiting not because it gave pain to the bear, but because it gave pleasure to the spectators.”

Exactly. The spectators here being ordinary people who can afford to buy meat. In the eyes of our “elites,” that can’t be allowed to continue.

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