Don’t Eat Red Meat

William Irvine

Original photo from Edited by William Irvine

William Irvine, Reporter

With growing concerns over climate change, people are looking for any way they can find to help the environment and to decrease greenhouse gas emissions in our atmosphere. With Global Warming becoming a growing issue, one cause of this has become apparent. Consumption of red meat hurts not only the environment but the health of the person eating it. Various options exist to prevent red meat from being so damaging, but the most effective option is to stop eating it entirely.


Stopping the consumption of red meat would first and foremost greatly help to decrease greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. Cows are responsible for around 14 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in a gas called methane. Methane is about 23 times more damaging than carbon monoxide, the gas that cars produce. The total number of cattle in the U.S is about 103 million including bulls and cattle, and with each cow producing 100-200 liters of methane a day, the numbers start adding up. In order to prevent the spilling of massive amounts of methane into the environment, people have devised several plans to change the beef cows diets to different, more nutritious grasses, or to do things like give them pills to assist with digestion and prevent the creation of methane. However, the only way to truly end methane production from cows is to stop the farming and eating of them all together. However, cows used for making milk are in the safe zone. They eat more nutritious grasses so they tend to produce much less methane.


On top of the environmental damage, the process by which the meats are being created also makes them somewhat harmful for your body. Both processed and unprocessed meats can increase the risk of developing colorectal cancer and colon cancer. Processed meats can increase risk by up to 50 percent according to some studies. While generally, the risk of cancer isn’t that high, anything that you can do to prevent developing it, you should do. Is the flavor worth possibly losing your life to cancer? If there is a chance to avoid cancer, not taking it would be foolish.

On top of that, food scientists link processed red meats to the development of coronary heart disease and diabetes. This is extremely serious–heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and you can decrease your chances by simply not eating processed red meats. Hearing about the increased risk for disease and not doing something about it is comparable to having the opportunity to vaccinate your kids and choosing not to. Although it is human nature to eat other animals, with modern-day animal diets and chemicals being used to process the meats, the circumstances are much different from the past. The days of free-grazing cows are over, and the processed-beef cow is all that remains.


As much as people love red meat, the vast quantities that people consume are ridiculous. The taste of red meat does not outweigh the massive negative effects it has on the human body and the environment. Take this into consideration next time you have the opportunity to eat a burger. Remember that there are always meat substitutes, vegan options, or just other non-meat dishes that you could eat instead. Change begins with you, and the only way to end the red meat industry is through the efforts of average, everyday people.