The Mix

5,000 gallons of water needed to produce a pound of beef?

Meat isn't that good. Or is it that good?
Life for the informed meat eater is getting harder and harder isn't it? It is for me anyway.

Aside from a growing sensibility about how strange it is to stuff pieces of dead creatures in my mouth, the environmental costs of producing one mouthful of my 2nd favorite meat -- cow -- is quite staggering (pork is, and will be until my last days as a carnivore, the Best Meat Ever).

I was reading a three-part article in the British Independent last night about the world's coming water wars, slightly bored -- it's a poorly written series -- and there was this tiny little list of "The litres of water needed to produce a kilo of" this and that food item.

Here's the list:

Potatoes 1,000
Maize 1,400
Wheat 1,450
Chicken 4,600
Beef 42,500

Whoa! Eye-balling that beef number, it comes to around 5,000 gallons per pound of USDA. No doubt, we Americans are vastly more efficient than those cow-mad -- or is it mad-cow -- British farmers. But still, what's the number of gallons-per-cow pound number that you feel OK with? 1,000?
Jan Frel is an AlterNet staff writer.
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