Should I eat meat?

On Radio 4 this week. Costing the Earth discussed the apparently controversial proposition that livestock rearing can be better in some areas for the environment than crops. Imo, this debate is a sideshow. What really matters is how to stop the destruction of Brazilian rainforest. The context of the programme was the use of Land in England already in long term use as pasture, and not really suitable for any other form of agriculture. In that context, that livestock convert grass into high quality protein, and that pasture can be made much more efficient by grazing several different species together make sense to me, although I have yet to hear what 100% vegans think (an odd omission from the programme).

Do British butchers sell Brazilian meat? Apparently, yes, they do indeed. Just as I blocked Eastgate (Leeds) as soon as XR asked for volunteers, I shall take part in whatever protest is organized. But why is this not already a hot topic? I think blockading supermarkets would both produce results, and do more to restore XR’s public image than stopping tube trains.

But the UK is only a small proportion of Brazil’s meat exports. I do not at this moment have time for a more thorough look (writing in the small hours, I leave for election campaigning tomorrow morning). However, Britain’s contribution to the continuing destruction of rainforest, and hence intensification of violent weather events is far larger than I realized. We import 6,000 tonnes pa as against Germany’s 258 tonnes, and France’s 64, whilst the USA only imports 8,300 tonnes. There is scope for changing consumers’ behaviour significantly without troubling British farmers, or trying to bring down the government by blocking roads.

Floods in Somalia and the Congo continue the succession of extreme weather events which are an inevitable consequence of the world wide increase in greenhouse gases, as indicated by this report this week. Please let’s concentrate on what matters most.

Why are exports of Brazilian meat expanding? Because they are cheap, and British shoppers are still bound by austerity. Did I ever mention the basic income as enabling hard pressed impoverished shoppers to make eco-friendly choices?

No blog for a fortnight. I shall be in the Isle of Wight. I have bet £10 that the Greens will win, at 6-1.

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