Check out today’s column, “Just Say No to Antibacterial Burgers,” by Washington Post Opinion Writer Ezra Klein. “This column, ” he says, “is based on a single and quite extraordinary statistic: Food animal production accounts for 70 percent — 70 percent! — of the antibiotics used in the United States.” Klein zeros in on the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act of 2009, now in before Congress, and the industry’s contention that the legislation will raise the price of meat. Pointing to a National Academy of Sciences study, which found eliminating the non-therapeutic antibiotics would cost between $5 to $10 per person each year, Klein says, “I’d pay that for a lower risk of super-staphylococcus.”
A round of applause for Washington Post reporter Ezra Klein for pointing out last week the undeniable fact that meat production is a major contributor to global warming, and that consumers can make a difference by cutting out their meat consumption just one day a week. How big a difference in greenhouse gases reduction it would make in the United States has long been a topic of debate, and something I’ve wanted to clarify for quite a while. Before I explain why, I want to make it clear that there is more than enough evidence that shows reducing meat consumption nationwide would lead to dramatic improvements in environmental degradation, widespread public and personal health risks, animal welfare and environmental and social justice issues.
First off, I’m pleased to see that mainstream media outlets are finally increasing their coverage of food systems’ effects on climate change. Believe it or not, it’s taken a while for the news gatekeepers to catch on. Last year Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future’s research and policy director Roni Neff published a paper in the journal of Public Health Nutrition that found U.S. newspaper coverage did not reflect the increasingly solid evidence of climate change effects due to current food systems. Read More >