On this mornings Morning Edition there was a segment about how harmful to the environment eating meat is because of the space and resources required.
I love NPR for all that it offers the public, especially now that I live abroad. They offer great news coverage of local (OPB) news as well as both national and international news too. My husband and I don’t actually eat much beef, we often opt for turkey when needing ground meat and eat either fish or chicken otherwise. Here in Germany though, I must admit that our pork consumption has increased, as we live in a nation of schweinfleisch (pig meat). After listening to the audio accompanying the article, “A Nation of Meat Eaters“, I was amazed to read the article and find out the following:
What It Takes To Make A Quarter-Pound Hamburger?
I mean, I knew it took a lot of land, water and feed but, wow!! Additionally, I thought that the United States was the top consumer of meat, but it turns out it was seconded by a country in Europe. Funnily enough, it isn’t Germany, France or Spain – it is LUXEMBOURG!
Luxembourg is the 179th country compared to the rest of the world according to the CIA World Factbook (has to do with land area, water area and total area overall, Russia is number one on the list), holding 2,586 sq km of land in the center of Europe quietly nestled between France and Germany and it is comparably smaller than the state of Rhode Island. Luxembourg has a total population of 509,074 (July 2011).
This is compared to the United States, which has a total area of 9,826,675 sq km (including land and water area). According to the CIA World Factbook, comparably the United States is “about half the size of Russia; about three-tenths the size of Africa; about half the size of South America (or slightly larger than Brazil); slightly larger than China; more than twice the size of the European Union”. The total population of the United States is 313,847,465 as of July 2011.
In 2009, this honor was also not bestowed onto the US, but Denmark. REALLY?!
US Meat Consumption, 2009
The infographic above divides meat consumption in Germany by gender and state.
*UPDATE: I looked for a German equivalent and found the following thanks to de.statistica.com:
From 1991 to 2019, consumption of meat (Fleischkonsum in Deutschland), in kilograms, dropped slightly from 63.9 % in 1991 to 59.5 % by 2019. With overall consumption (for humans and other uses, like animal feed,industrial recycling and product loss) dropping from 95.3 % to 87.8 %. Germans still love their pork products the most, having it account for over half of all meat consumed in the country. Next in line as favorite is poultry, with beef coming in third place. However, as demographics, regarding religion and ethics) shift in Germany, the consumption of pork has fallen. More information about meat consumtion can be found here, in German.
Vegetarians and vegans in Germany, something that was rare like Sasquatch sightings in the Northwest when I first moved here in 2009/10, especially in Rheinland-Pfalz, has only increased. As of January 27, 2021, nationwide Germany now has a self-professed 6.60 million vegetarians, an increase of 400,000 from the previous year.
This image was originally published in the NYT (New York Times) on March 15, 2011 showing a century of meat consumption in the United States in the last 100 years and is also pretty interesting. Spikes in consumption coincide with proliferation of fast-food in the US and beginning in the mid-1940’s a book in Chicken consumption and an overall decline of beef consumption since the 1980’s, all of which are also interesting because I thought Americans just loved their meat, especially beef. Even my husband and I, who are former vegetarian meat eaters try not to eat too much meat today. This evening I am making a vegetarian curried lentils and rice dinner, no meat required. There are times when both of us crave protein, which likely means we aren’t getting enough protein or possibly iron. For the most part though, we are salad lovers – or rather I AM. So, I also always have some sort of leafy salad option with dinner and/or leafy greens in the prepared dinner itself.