Mark Bittman on the economics of meat

In this excellent piece, I was most struck by the following passage:

But pigs and chickens, which convert grain to meat far more efficiently
than beef, are increasingly the meats of choice for producers,
accounting for 70 percent of total meat production, with industrialized
systems producing half that pork and three-quarters of the chicken.

Let’s say you want to protect the environment, and you are going to eat some meat, should you eat cows or pigs?  Pigs.  Let’s say you care about animal cruelty.  Pigs are smarter and more social than cows.  A pig (or chicken) also seems to yield less meat per unit of animal suffering.  That would imply it is better for animal welfare to eat cows rather than pigs.  The conflict between environmental goals and animal welfare goals is one of the most significant underreported stories in this area.


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