Environmental problems caused by the overconsumption of meat

Overconsumption is the excessive use of goods and services arising from the perception that the owning and using of an increasing number and variety of products and services is the principal cultural aspiration and the surest route to personal happiness, social status and national success (Brown and Cameron). Overconsumption of meat, therefore, requires assessing whether the quest for meat products indeed leads to fulfillment and happiness. Overconsumption from an environmental point of view lays focuses on the use of natural resources (Brown and Cameron). This paper aims to relate environmental problems to implications created by overconsumption of meat.

Since the agrarian revolution, man has domesticated animals to provide them with labor, meat, milk, wool, feathers, and leather. Industrialization in many countries has resulted in the replacement of small-scale farming by industrial, agricultural practices that are profit driven (UNEP).  Nowadays, there is increased agricultural production due to better production and value addition technologies, better marketing techniques as well as a high food demand from the growing population (UNEP). Therefore, the economies of many countries have geared to increase efficiency in food production, resulting in reduced prices for meat products. Low prices have turned meat that was in the early days an occasional meal into an affordable daily product for many people.


Most populations in the developed countries consume diets high in meat and saturated fats, but low in fruits, vegetables and whole grains (Walker, Rhubart-Berg and McKenzie). Such foods increase the risk of heart diseases, cancer, stroke and diabetes. Global meat consumption is highest in the USA. The figure of meat supply estimated is 322 grams of meat per day per person in the USA (UNEP). European countries follow with an approximation of 200 grams per person each day (UNEP). Estimations of worldwide meat consumption per person per is 115 grams per day. Meat products provide a variety of essential nutrients that are not readily available in plant foods (Walker, Rhubart-Berg, and McKenzie)….

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