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The Hidden Costs of Hamburgers

Rising rate of meat production worldwide threatens to mess up our climate, land, and water big time.
 
 
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Photo Credit: BKingFoto/ Shutterstock.com

 
 
 
 

 

Animated short by the  Center for Investigative Reporting

That Americans love meat is old news. But sometimes a fresh look at the sheer volume of meat consumed can still be a bit of a shocker. Like the fact that Americans, on average, eat three hamburgers a week. That’s 156 burgers per person per year. Wowzers! Apparently, despite the growing popularity of vegetarian food (all those yummy tofu, bean and potato patties) and other meats such as pork and chicken, beef is still the reigning meat of choice in this country. But at what cost? When we buy a pound of ground beef at the supermarket, are we paying what it’s really worth?

The Center for Investigative Journalism explored this question recently and came up with some mindboggling figures that show just how terribly our meat habit is impacting our environment and natural resources. Here are some nuggets:

  • Livestock create about as much greenhouse gas pollution as cars, planes, and other forms of transport.
  • It takes 1,800 gallons of water to produce a single pound of beef (four times the amount for chicken and 10 times the amount required for a pound of wheat).

Need a stronger case for going veg or, at the very least, observing “Meatless Mondays," after this?

Learn more in this fact-packed animated short by CIR:

 

Film Credits:

Carrie Ching: Director/Producer/Reporter
Sarah Terry-Cobo: Reporter/Narrator
Arthur Jones: Illustrator/Animator

 
Maureen Nandini Mitra is managing editor of Earth Island Journal.
 
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