Archive for meat wall

Sunday Protein: Better Ways to Eat Meat

Posted in Fast Food, MEAT POLITICS, STUFF ABOUT MEAT with tags on June 15, 2008 by chomposaurus

…that’s not how most people would put the subject of this post. They would say “How to eat less meat,” which might seem more honest. But that’s not the problem here, really. If you’re a typical American, you should probably eat less of a lot of things; I’d cut down on french fries and spicy sweet Doritos before buying fewer chicken cutlets. Along the way, you can develop better meat-eating habits as well. The NYTimes has a good guide, with seven steps.

6. Make some rules. Depending on your habits, it may be no bacon at breakfast; it may be no burgers at lunch; it may be no fast food, ever; it may be “eat a salad instead of a sandwich three times a week,” or “eat a vegetarian dinner three times a week.” It may mean meatless Fridays. It may mean (this is essentially what I do) meatless breakfasts and lunches and all-bets-are-off dinners.

Some of the steps are a bit silly, like suggesting that you order “two salads” instead of a main course in a restaurant. First, it’s pretty hard to find two good salads in a restaurant that don’t have much meat (bacon vinaigrette anyone?) Second, I think you look kind of crazy doing that in Chili’s.

Anyhow, read the article. Its main advice is very sound: when eating at home, choosing to eat less meat, but eating it in more creative fashions, will lead you to a healthier diet. And don’t forget to cut out the junk food, too.

Sunday Protein, 6/1/2008

Posted in MEAT POLITICS with tags , on June 1, 2008 by chomposaurus

Rethinking the Meat Guzzler
Referencing our Friday discussion of the Meat Wall, read a much more reporterly but less extravagant discussion of modern meat consumption the New York Times.

Like oil, meat is subsidized by the federal government. Like oil, meat is subject to accelerating demand as nations become wealthier, and this, in turn, sends prices higher. Finally — like oil — meat is something people are encouraged to consume less of, as the toll exacted by industrial production increases, and becomes increasingly visible.

The Meat Wall Equation

Posted in Burgers, Meat Devices, MEAT POLITICS with tags , , on May 30, 2008 by chomposaurus


It’s a relatively meatless Friday, so let’s take a moment to think about my favorite made up term, the Meat Wall, which is the invisible barrier made up of population and arable land that we are racing towards. Eventually, there will not be enough free land on Earth to raise the cows, pigs, chickens and kangaroos necessary to feed us meat at the levels we now expect. When will we reach that point, and what will happen? I’m not sure, but I think there must be a way to find out.

There will be another 3 billion people on earth by 2050, barring the rapid development of Martian colonies. Even if only a sixth of those new people can afford to eat at the current American rate of 2,920 oz. of meat per year, the world will need to produce 91 billion more pounds of meat by 2050. My friends, that is a lot of effing cows.

I’m not worried about the population outgrowing the total food supply – you can go talk to Thomas Malthus about that one.. I’m talking about a matter of preference and taste; people want more meat than they can have. Will meat prices go up, consumption go down or both? How will it change our culture? These questions are harder to answer.

But it is possible to judge just how finite meat is. If we know how much land a typical livestock animal needs, and we know how much total farming land is available, we can calculate the theoretical upper limit on the amount of animals the earth can sustain. Including ratios for types of animals, land used for waste, and, most importantly, level of meat consumption per capita, we could look at scenarios for when the earth would actually hit the meat wall.

Sadly, I’m not an economist. I’m a freelance meat writer. But on the odd chance that an economist stumbles upon this blog while searching for the best burger on Wall St., I challenge him or her to think about this equation. The future of our burgers, barring the development of an infinite cow machine or lunar beef dome, depends on it.

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Your Sunday Protein, 5/11/2008

Posted in MEAT POLITICS, Pork with tags , on May 11, 2008 by chomposaurus

This sunday, I’m getting some musical protein in DC at the Radiohead show, so here are a few stories to tide you over.

Pork, Chicken Prices May Be Next to Rise
An AP article on the continuing increases in meat prices around the world, including here in the U.S. Do your part: stir-fry a little tofu or have a salad now and then.

PigProgress.net
“Your Portal on Global Pig Production” – if you want to nerd out about the business and logistical side of breeding and farming pigs, this is your site.

Retailers using DNA to Track Meat
Another AP article; this one covers the use of DNA to improve safety and accuracy in meat sales; some producers aren’t so sure it’s worth the cost.

Green Fork Blog
A thoughtful blog about responsible, renewable eating. Good resource!

Enjoy your spring grilling!

Hitting The Meat Wall – A Conversation

Posted in Beef, MEAT POLITICS with tags , , , , on April 18, 2008 by chomposaurus


A conversation between me and my fellow meat patriot, P. Sundae.

me: america’s porn industry: paying for america’s war industry
is it possible for us to become a porn-based economy?

P. Sundae: do you ever think about the things that are wasteful to produce and try to distinguish them from the things that aren’t?
for example, food is a productive use of resources
but is soda?

me: but cheetos are not
it’s a hard question

P. Sundae: are we wealthier for producing coca cola?

me: the solution: hold a farmer’s market in your escalade

P. Sundae: as a nation, yes, as a world, no

me: interesting point
I’m interested in when we will hit the meat wall
when the worldwide demand for meat is simply greater than what the world can produce (without killing humans)

P. Sundae: haha, is that real?

me: I just made up the term “the meat wall”

P. Sundae: i’m going back to school to write a dissertation on the meat wall

me: but yes, there is the prospect of meat becoming super-expensive because of the exponentially growing demand of several emerging economies (china esp.)
the solution: moon cows

P. Sundae: haha

me: we’ll use the space elevator to bring the meat back from the lunar beef domes

P. Sundae: lol
you’re killing me here
no, don’t kill me
you just want my meat
the space elevator. ha

me: I love the space elevator

P. Sundae: you should turn “space elevator” into a sexual term
Dirty Sanchez, The Superman, The Cleveland Steamer, The Space Elevator

me: it could work
although “The Railgun” might be better

P. Sundae: lol

A McNugget is Growing on my Air Conditioner

Posted in MEAT POLITICS with tags , on April 17, 2008 by chomposaurus

In Vitro Delicious
There’s an excellent post on the NYTimes’ blog “Dot Earth” rounding up some news about in vitro meat– which, if you don’t know, is meat grown as a culture, like bacteria. Instead of e. coli, though, the carnitologists (as I’m sure they are technically called) culture muscle cells from cows, pigs or chicken. The result is real meat, albeit in a form that resembles the inside of a fried crab ball more than a fine cut of ribeye. But it’s still meat, and it supposedly tastes like the (ground up) real thing. No animals are killed in the process.

The Times seems to think we should be all worried about putting such strange, cloned meat into our bodies, but considering what chemicals are in the average nacho cheese dorito, I don’t think it should be a problem. I’m all for in vitro meats. It’s all about not hitting the Meat Wall.

As usual, wikipedia has the best info:
WikiMeat: In Vitro