The Misguided Meat Vortex

Guest Opinion by Kip Hansen – 26 May 2022

The Breakthrough Institute, was founded and is currently directed by Ted NordhausMichael Shellenberger was a co-founder in 2003.  (or 2007, opinions vary).  It is described as: “The Institute is aligned with ecomodernist philosophy. Such thought advocates for increased use of natural resources through an embrace of modernization, technological development, and increasing U.S. capital accumulation, usually through a combination of nuclear power and urbanization.” (Wiki).

It has recently offered an essay by Alex Smith,  Breakthrough’s Food and Agriculture Analyst, titled “The Coming ’Meat Vortex’.   While Smith writes well and clearly, and has a good grasp of the problems and impediments to forming sensible public policy, he gets almost everything else wrong because he starts off on wrong -footed assumptions:

“Agriculture is responsible for approximately 10 percent of US greenhouse gas emissions and as much as 25 percent of emissions globally. Meat is responsible for a plurality of agricultural emissions, as well as serious water and air pollution, increased morbidity from overconsumption, deforestation due to high land use, and biodiversity loss. Not all meat is equal in its environmental harms: beef production is the largest user of land and produces emissions four times that of pork and 14 times that of chicken per unit of final product in the United States. But the sector as a whole has a long track record of deplorable labor conditions, anti-social-ecological behavior, and grotesque animal treatment.”

It is difficult to know where to start a discussion if Smith is going to build on these only trivially true when not just plain wrong and seriously biased anti-meat propaganda talking-points. 

Declaration of Competing Interests:  I have no financial competing interests and have not been paid (ever) for my opinion.  This author, Kip Hansen and his family, eat according to a religiously-established dietary code which includes eating meat sparingly and consuming a diet mostly grain- and vegetable/fruit-based.  I am neither an opponent or a proponent of meat production or consumption. My grandparents were Wisconsin dairy farmers. 

It has been some time since I covered The Meat Wars (and here and here).  The scientific controversy which many, including myself, call The Meat Wars, which continues today with much of it wrapped up in the incredible pseudo-scientific muddle that comprises the Climate Wars.  (ref:  most the articles at this site – WUWT).  This piece from The Breakthrough Institute does not at first seem to be a salvo fired from either side in the controversy.  However, it starts out with assumptions that send it off along the wrong path to a series wrong conclusions.

Let’s look at those assumptions:

1)  “Agriculture is responsible for approximately 10 percent of US greenhouse gas emissions and as much as 25 percent of emissions globally.”

              OK, this is vaguely correct – but not precise in any way.  These types of talking-points always include such things along the lines of the emissions from producing the steel that makes the tractors – ad infinitum.  Notice that the statement is not confined to livestock – but agriculture as a whole.  Feeding the 8 billion humans on the planet is not only serious business but an existential necessity.  We must do it or die.  It is only interesting that this wide-ranging absolutely necessary activity produces whatever percentage of CO2 emissions – the emissions themselves being only arguably important.

2a):  “Meat is responsible for a plurality of agricultural emissions”

              Life is “responsible for a plurality of … emissions” – which is trivially true and at very best, a “So What?”  It has not been established beyond the arena of opinion that unspecified “agricultural emissions” are bad things that need to be reduced or corrected in some way.  And of course, it is not “meat” but the agricultural practices called meat production that are responsible, if responsibility must be assigned.

“But what about methane?” you might say.  “Ruminants have always emitted methane; it is not something new. Huge herds of wild buffalo, cattle, goats, sheep, deer, cameloids and wildebeest have grazed the grasslands of the world for millions of years. The American prairies once supported greater numbers of bison than they now do cattle, despite the intensive corn and soy production that feeds them.”  [ source ]

2b):  “Meat is responsible for ….  serious water and air pollution”

              This is simply an unsupported assertion – another anti-meat talking point.  Generally, meat production does not produce “air pollution” unless we are talking of the methane issue – which is not a pollutant – it is a natural product of many life forms and a natural product of the biological decay process. 

              Poor livestock production practices can lead to water pollution – as can any type of poorly planned and executed human industrial-scale activity or even individual activities including picnicking.  If there is a livestock operation producing water pollution then State and Federal anti-pollution laws and regulations should be applied to eliminate the problem. 

2c):  “Meat is responsible for…. increased morbidity from overconsumption”

              This is not true – there are anti-meat and health advocates that insist that it is so, but this in not an evidence-based conclusion. Rather, lack of affordable high-quality protein such as meat leads to ill-nourished and undernourished populations and increased mortality.   This claim is one of the most heavily contested aspects involved in the meat controversy.  Hugely poor dietary choices can have negative impacts on morbidity (death) but there is no evidence whatever that “meat overconsumption” leads to death – and certainly not in any sort of conceivably normal American diet.

The controversy is illustrated by events surrounding  “…the 14-member international team led by Bradley Johnston an associate professor of community health at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, concluded that those who like meat should not stop on health grounds. ‘Based on the research, we cannot say with any certainty that eating red or processed meat causes cancer, diabetes or heart disease.’” [ sourcesee the six papers in the NutriRECS series in Annuals of Internal Medicine. ]

Bradley Johnston and his team have been viciously attacked ever since….in The Meat Wars. 

The usual suspects at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health ranted, pounded their microscopes, flailed their stethoscopes  and have blasted away in the journals at every opportunity – they also do the same for any science that shows population-wide salt reduction is ill advised or science that shows that the demand that everyone have low blood pressure is a bad idea. 

2d):  “Meat is responsible for….deforestation due to high land use”

              It certainly has been or is true in some places and in some times.  In the United States, land area dedicated to agriculture been shrinking:  down by 50 million acres since 2000.  Land use in Europe has remained more or less unchanged and the same for the UK.

And for the world at large?

              Canada, the U.S., the U.K, Europe and Russia have remained level or declined since the 1950s [red box]. Oceania (which includes Australia and New Zealand), Africa, the Middle East, India and China have remained flat since the turn of the century (2000) [blue box].    Only Latin America and the Caribbean and Brazil have shown any substantial increase at all. 

2e):  “Meat is responsible for….biodiversity loss.”

              As far as I can tell, this is entirely made up – among that special class of scientific facts that are so often repeated but never have any real science behind them.  There may be biodiversity losses in some areas of the world – inevitable as human populations grow and take up more space, both for living and supporting themselves.  And, over the long range of history, when human societies have expanded their territories into new areas  — bringing with them agriculture and livestock raising – this has damaged and changed habitats, thus lessened biodiversity.   Think of huge areas of the Middle East and Greece whose hillsides were denuded by sheep and goats let run wild. But in the modern world, as we can see in the graph of grazing lands far above, this is not a universal or widespread problem, and has far more to do with general land use change than with meat production.

Where do these mostly-false ideas come from?  I will give readers one guess.

You got it right on the first try!  Yes, it is the United Nations!   Smith’s rant on the horrors of meat production come right out a 2006 report from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)  booklet: “LIVESTOCK’S LONG SHADOW — environmental issues and options” (.pdf).  See if you recognize Smith’s introduction in this quote:

“The livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global. The findings of this report suggest that it should be a major policy focus when dealing with problems of land degradation, climate change and air pollution, water shortage and water pollution and loss of biodiversity.”

The accusations against the livestock (meat) industry are boilerplate United Nations misanthropic policies wrapped in climate change and environmentalist claptrap.  Smith just repeats them without the application of critical thinking skills.  I don’t say this lightly.  Read the FAO report – there is no real science in it, only opinions based on the illogical idea that a bad practice found in one place at one time justifies vilifying and, if possible, eliminating an entire existentially-necessary industry.

And then there’s this:

“…the [livestock/meat production] sector as a whole has a long track record of deplorable labor conditions, anti-social-ecological behavior, and grotesque animal treatment.”

Not to mention that it is also an industry that has been supplying high-quality protein to a U.S. population that has grown from a few hundred thousand to over 300 million over the last 300 years contributing to an increase in average lifespan in the U.S. from 25-30 years (1600) to over 80 years today.

Beyond this….Smith has demonstrated his over-the-top antipathy to livestock production and producers.  He can not pretend to be an honest broker of information for policy makers. 

Smith tells us:  “For much of the past century, per capita meat consumption (using the US Department of Agriculture’s proxy measure) has steadily risen.” [The proxy is “availability” in place of actual consumption.]

Beef availability has declined 40% steadidly since the 1970s while pork and fish/shellfish have remained unchanged.  Only the availability of chicken has risen.  Nonetheless, Smith then asserts:

“Indeed, American consumers are blasting their way through chicken wings at a faster pace than poultry producers can supply—especially with COVID 19-related production lulls. It is such high demand for meat products that gives large meat firms—with their long history of questionable practices, political savvy, and ruthlessness—outsized power to begin with.”

Note that chicken production does not use vast amounts of water and utilizes no grazing land — just the land dedicated to raising the feed — and hasn’t ever required the clearing of forests.

So what is The Vortex Smith writes about?  The Rise of Schmeat! … and the Impossible Burger!

“…journalist Robinson Meyer dubbed the “green vortex.” As Meyer explains in The Atlantic, the “green vortex” is a virtuous cycle: as green “technologies develop, they get cheaper. As they get cheaper, more companies adopt them. As more companies adopt them, their leaders grow more comfortable with climate policy generally—and more supportive of pro-technology policy in particular. As more corporate leaders support climate policy, coalitions change, governments can pass more aggressive measures, and the cycle expands and begins again.”

We need a “meat vortex.”

Smith writes that:

“….broad adoption of meat alternatives could have major implications for politics around agricultural land use in the United States. They argue, for example, that land no longer needed for meat production could be used towards progressive ends, such as the creation of worker-owned farms, returning land to Indigenous nations and peoples, rewilding, and other conservation uses. In turn, the way American consumers weigh animal ethics in their choices between meat and its alternatives could also change. …. Even beyond that, though, it could be the start of a meat vortex.”

Seldom has one sentence managed to incorporate so many woke socialist ideas:  worker-owned farms, Native lands, rewilding and conservation along considering animal ethics in personal dietary choices.

Sorry Smith, but you have forgotten one important thing:  “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch!”.  It is not possible to manufacture Impossible Burgers or to grow Shmeat without inputs.  The materials – vegetable matter or chemicals and proteins to “grow” schmeat.  Humans consume around 350 million metric tons of meat each year.  Replacing even a small portion of that with shmeat will require the same sort of inputs that living animals require to grow the muscle tissue and plant-based pseudo-meat will require plants which must be grown on good arable land.   All of that input must come from somewhere. 

Where are the calculations of the inputs needed to make a difference ?  and their sources? 

The Breakthrough Institute has long been assumed, at least by myself, to be opinionated but science and evidenced-based within their political and social agenda.   This anti-meat rant by Smith, on the other hand, is blatantly biased and based on politicized propaganda, not science and not evidence.  That is a shame.

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Note: A half dozen editing errors have been corrected at 1800 hrs Eastern Time. I probably should not try to do final editing while sailing….

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Author’s Comment:

I have not primarily focused on the solutions offered by Smith.  They are based on falsehoods and a determinedly biased view and thus not pertinent in any pragmatic way.  Those with a strong political stomach should read the whole piece.

Affordable high-quality protein – read “meat” – is important ingredient of a healthy diet for humanity.  It is marginally possible to organize a semi-healthy diet without meat, but not easy and not without caveats like vitamin/mineral supplementation.  It is also possible that Americans, in particular, eat more meat than is strictly necessary for good health.  It is certain that the profoundly poor in the Third World need more meat in their diets, not less.  But where diet is a free choice, the luxury of readily available affordable meats is a blessing.

Personally, I eat very little meat.  My wife has never served a pot roast or a rack of ribs.  Occasionally we have a roast chicken – which lasts the two of us many meals.

In my experience as a science and health journalist for more than a decade, the United Nations is a very poor source of facts, policy or advice on almost all topics

However, at the “on-the-ground” level, many UN agencies, employees and their associated national and local programs do great work alleviating hunger, poverty, ignorance and disease. I have worked with the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) in the Dominican Republic and they are good people and they do good work

This anti-meat-industry screed by Smith just goes to show you that even good organizations like Breakthrough can be infected by foolish and biased ideas.  

Read more – read critically – read widely.

And, thank you for reading.

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John Tillman
May 31, 2022 2:07 pm

Indigenous North Americans ate meat.

Mike McHenry
Reply to  John Tillman
May 31, 2022 2:33 pm

Aren’t indigenous North Americans descendants of Asian immigrants? So are they indigenous?

Reply to  Mike McHenry
May 31, 2022 2:45 pm


John Tillman
Reply to  Mike McHenry
May 31, 2022 3:04 pm

In which case I guess the only indigenous humans are Africans.

Mike McHenry
Reply to  John Tillman
May 31, 2022 5:05 pm


Franz Dullaart
Reply to  John Tillman
May 31, 2022 9:07 pm

Yes. And they have colonized the rest of the world!

John Tillman
Reply to  Franz Dullaart
May 31, 2022 9:13 pm

Asia first, then Australia and Europe, then the Americas, then oceanic islands. We haven’t really colonized Antarctica, although Argentina did send a woman to give birth there, in hopes of enhancing its turf claims vs, Chile and other territorial claimants.

Reply to  John Tillman
June 1, 2022 6:16 pm

The problem with this sequence is the origins of the Japanese language. Japanese and its dialects, or Japonic, are a complete isolate. They have nothing in common with any other known language.

Theories of it being related to Korean have been discredited in recent years. (see the research of Alexander Vovin) Outside of loan words in both languages, due to peoples who spoke both languages who lived on the Korean Peninsula, which also explains shared genetics, they have nothing in common. The same applies to the lanuages of China and Indochina.

The Japanese speaking peoples are not indigeous to Japan. The indigenous language is Ainu, which also has nothing in common with Japonic with the exception of loan words. So where did it come from? There are indications of it coming from across the Pacific to the Pacific Islands, and then eventually to the Korean Peninsula and then to Kyushu. It’s something to think about.

John Tillman
Reply to  6CA7
June 1, 2022 11:11 pm

Based upon genetics, Japanese people appear to have originated in Siberia around Lake Baikal, but they must have arrived in the Japanese and Ryuku islands from Korea in the early 4th century BC..

Their language too shows Siberian grammatical traits. It may appear as an isolate today, but it does share traits with other languages. That fact doesn’t necessarily imply a “genetic” linguistic relationship.

For example, it’s an agglutinative language, with few irregular verbs, but then so are Finnish, Luganda.and Quechua. Georgian and Korean are agglutinative, but with many irregular verbs.

Most Indo-European languages are synthetic rather than agglutinative.

The Turkic and Mongolian languages are agglutinative, suggesting a possible ancient connection with Siberian Japanese ancestors.
Based upon genetics, Japanese people appear to have originated in Siberia around Lake Baikal, but they must have arrived in the Japanese and Ryuku islands from Korea in the early 4th century BC..

Their language too shows Siberian grammatical traits. It may appear as an isolate today, but it does share traits with other languages. That fact doesn’t necessarily imply a “genetic” linguistic relationship.

For example, it’s an agglutinative language, with few irregular verbs, but then so are Finnish, Luganda.and Quechua. Georgian and Korean are agglutinative, but with many irregular verbs.

Most Indo-European languages are synthetic rather than agglutinative.

The Turkic and Mongolian languages are agglutinative, suggesting a possible ancient connection with Siberian Japanese ancestors. Maybe even Finnish as well.

Last edited 1 year ago by Milo
Reply to  John Tillman
June 2, 2022 6:25 am

From the,sadly, late Alexander Vovin. He passed away unexpected just recently. He was one of the worlds leading scholors, if not the leading scholor on this topic.

Agree or disagree you may find the above paper fascinating.

Thanks for engaging me in this dicussion.

John Tillman
Reply to  John Tillman
May 31, 2022 10:14 pm

IMO the first groups to colonize previously uninhabited territory, such as Madagascar, Reunion, Melanesia, Micronesia, Polynesia and New Zealand, count as indigenous. Europe and Asia had preexisting populations of Genus Homo, ie Neanderthals and Denisovans, but Oz and the Americas didn’t. For that matter H. erectus/antecessor-grade people also lived in Asia and Europe, arguably just regional variants of African H. ergaster.

Reply to  John Tillman
June 1, 2022 2:48 am

theyre saying Aus had denisovans as first inhabitants now too, might miff a few of the darker complecteds claiming longest evah at 60k yadda yadda

John Tillman
Reply to  ozspeaksup
June 1, 2022 1:22 pm

Ancestors of Aborigines. Papuans and some Pacific Islanders picked up DNA from Neanderthals, Denisovans and an undiscovered extinct modern human relative en route from Africa to Oceania.

I don’t think there is evidence of Denisovans in Sahul, the continent of New Guines, Oz and Tasmania.

Reply to  John Tillman
June 1, 2022 6:21 am

… and there is some evidence that the Americas were already inhabited when the current “indigenous” came over the ice bridge, possibly from earlier Ice Ages.
Of course, digging up more evidence is being slowed down by objections from those same indigenous.

John Tillman
Reply to  Moosume
June 1, 2022 2:57 pm

There were at least three waves of immigration to North America from Asia, 5 to 45 Ka, and possibly one from Europe about 20 Ka.

There might have been people earlier, but the first major wave from Asia came before 15 Ka, Paleo-American Indians.

The second wave was the Na Dene peoples of western Canada and Alaska, plus the Navajo in the US SW.

The last wave was Aleut-Eskimo, spreading eastward across recently deglaciated Arctic and sub-Arctic Alaska, Canada and coastal Greenland.

John Tillman
Reply to  Moosume
June 1, 2022 11:04 pm

Yes, study of Kennewick Man was delayed by my Indian friends and neighbors. Other similarly aged remains have also been off limits to science.

You mean “land bridge”, continental shelf dry land exposed by sea level lowered by water held in ice sheets.

Reply to  Mike McHenry
May 31, 2022 3:25 pm

Blacker than black Indians. Maybe even Russians. Asians are sorely underrepresented in diversity blocs.

Reply to  Mike McHenry
May 31, 2022 11:13 pm

they had no statutes against assumed naturalization

Trying to Play Nice
Reply to  Mike McHenry
June 1, 2022 5:25 am

That is the current “consensus” idea. There is evidence of Europeans in North America and there are populations that seem to have lived before the Asians made it to North America. So who really knows? There is no clear history written by the early people.

John Hultquist
Reply to  Kip Hansen
June 1, 2022 10:19 am

 First – thanks for the essay/review.

Next – I find the creation and related stories to be interesting.
In Washington State and Idaho the stories explain the landscape or geomorphology. From a National Park Service web site:
“At the heart of every culture are the stories and places that sustain them as a people. For the nimí·pu· (Nez Perce), these stories taught children about the landforms that surround them everyday and help them learn their language, history, and culture. Ant and Yellowjacket is one such place.”
Compared to some others, the Navajo have a complicated narrative. “Navajo origin stories begin with a First World of darkness (Nihodilhil). From this Dark World the Dine began a journey of emergence into the world of the present.”

Tom Halla
May 31, 2022 2:07 pm

I do not know whether vegans or greens are more self righteous, and evangelical. Having someone who is both is an activist out of hell

Reply to  Tom Halla
May 31, 2022 3:32 pm

Abortionists, diversitists (e.g. racists, sexists), politically congruent or “=” (e.g. trans/genderists), feminists/masculinists, democrats/dictators, etc. are the very model of progress (i.e. [unqualified] monotonic change): one step forward, two steps backward, serving mortal gods and goddesses, with a Twilight faith (e.g. conflation of logical domains), under a nominally “secular” Pro-Choice “ethical” (i.e. relativistic, selective) religion (i.e. behavioral protocol), and liberal (i.e. divergent) ideology.

Reply to  Tom Halla
May 31, 2022 3:35 pm

‘G’reens may be green (i.e. naive), with a renewable green[back] motive, and a forward-looking blight on the green landscape.

jeffery p
May 31, 2022 2:18 pm

How is it that almost everything today’s activist class believes is entirely wrong?

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  jeffery p
May 31, 2022 3:22 pm

What we in the West might refer to as ‘modernity’ originated spontaneously within a tradition of (classical) liberalism. As the Left seeks to tear down modernity to implement socialism, they first need to oppose all beliefs that gave rise to modernity.

Reply to  Frank from NoVA
June 1, 2022 2:49 am

welcome to the new dark ages people

Craig from Oz
Reply to  jeffery p
May 31, 2022 8:49 pm

Comes from their core mindset.

Lefts believe – for whatever reasons – that the system is broken and things would only be better if they (or at least people they supported/agreed with) were in charge. The Big Picture is important and unless everyone works together the plan will not work.

Conservatives are focused more inwards. The Big Picture is less important than the immediate problems of making sure their friends and family are cared for. By not needing to consider the Big Picture they are in a position to pick and choose methods that work for THEM first and the Greater Good second.

This freedom to choose actually means the the Right is a LOT more open minded than the Left who are forced by their own group objectives to conform to the ‘narrative’.

The other problem with a Left c.f. a Conservative is that a Conservative, by having a flexible mind set, is in a better position to change viewpoints in order to best find solutions that suit their more ‘small picture’ objectives.

New Thing becomes available. Is New Thing better for their purposes then the Old Thing? Yes? Then adopt New Thing. It is not big deal. VHS was functional back in the 80s. DVDs became more functional. No one felt guilt about once having said VHS was the bee’s knees.

The Left struggle with this. They believe so deeply that the Big Picture is important and that One Solution can solve all the problems that to deviate from the One Solution is to accept that they were once WRONG and if they were wrong once, then maybe everything they structured their life around was a complete lie.

ie – their life has no purpose and has been wasted supporting a lie.

So what is easier for them? To accept they have wasted great periods of their life on a false assumption? Or to double down and accuse their rivals of being horrible liars who are too selfish and stupid to do the Correct Thing for the Greater Good (The Greater Good).

That is one of the reasons the Left are so stubborn.

The other is Malice.

Reply to  Craig from Oz
June 1, 2022 3:36 am

Good definitions.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Craig from Oz
June 1, 2022 6:17 am

‘So what is easier for them? To accept they have wasted great periods of their life on a false assumption? Or to double down and accuse their rivals of being horrible liars who are too selfish and stupid to do the Correct Thing for the Greater Good (The Greater Good).’

This is the whole impetus behind the rise of ‘post-modernism’ in academia. Imagine that you are an ‘intellectual’ and that your career and sense of self worth has been based upon ‘piling higher and deeper’ the belief that scientific socialism, aka, Marxism is the future of mankind. Now imagine that all evidence shows that Marxism was not only an economic dead-end, but a prime mover in the murder of untold millions of people.

What to do? For starters, adhere to the post-modern philosophy of the Frankfurt School, which holds that there is no such thing as objective reality, and that logic is contingent upon such non-transmutable factors such as skin color, gender, etc. Presto, your favorable view of Marxism is just as valid as any one else’s unfavorable view.

Unfortunately, this poison escaped from faculty lounges into the body politic a long time ago.

Gary Pate
Reply to  jeffery p
May 31, 2022 10:14 pm

We live in a bottom up world & they insist on a top down solution for everything…

May 31, 2022 2:25 pm

Isn’t red meat extremely useful as brain food?

Says a lot about those who eschew it.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Mr.
May 31, 2022 3:51 pm

And those who chew it.

Tim P
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
June 1, 2022 4:54 pm

Great comment, Jeff. It gave me a laugh.

Rud Istvan
May 31, 2022 2:29 pm

The ‘Green Vortex’ paragraph is a skein of fabricated delusions. Wind and solar have NOT gotten cheaper; if that were so, subsidies could be decreased or eliminated—but they haven’t. As penetration grows renewables become MORE expensive because of increased backup capacity requirements.

Nowhere on Earth is there a demonstrable ‘Green Vortex’—except maybe in AOC’s dizzy spinning mind.

So we for sure do NOT need a ‘meat vortex’. And as for beef, sheep, goats (not hogs or poultry), they can be raised on grazing land that could not support crops without irrigation. That extends global food supply (protein and calories) way beyond what ‘green’ plant crop agriculture could produce.

The Breakthrough Institute looks broken from running up against hard reality.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  Kip Hansen
May 31, 2022 5:28 pm

As a forty year plus WI dairy farmer (hey, my farm also provided ideal ruffed grouse, Turkey, White tailed deer, and spring morel mushroom hunting, plus was just three miles from walleye in the Wisconsin River, and only 5 from the trout fishing at Pompey Pillars upper stretch of Otter Creek) agree the meat thing is hogwash. Been there, done that.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
May 31, 2022 4:07 pm
Reply to  Rud Istvan
May 31, 2022 6:06 pm

Nowhere on Earth is there a demonstrable ‘Green Vortex’—except maybe in AOC’s dizzy spinning mind.

The Occasional Cortex Vortex?

Old Man Winter
Reply to  MarkMcD
May 31, 2022 7:41 pm

The first known perfect vacuum may be at the heart of the AOC Vortex!

Reply to  Rud Istvan
June 2, 2022 4:53 am

Agreed. There are vast areas and many local and regional economies where crop production is marginal, poor or nonexistent due to soils, topography, climate and water availability. Much of this land is suitable for well-managed livestock grazing and hay production to feed the livestock (i.e., meat production). If agriculture were to retreat from these areas, we would witness a large reduction in calories delivered to the table, as well as destruction of local and area economies and lifestyles.

Were we to take these assertions about the meat industry seriously, then we should also take a serious look at the size and locations of many major and mid-sized cities with respect to food, water and energy supply. In the U.S., let’s just shrink or eliminate Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Denver, Boulder, Austin, and New York City. They are far beyond the capacity of their immediate surroundings to support. While we are at it, if “locavores” have their way, we would all lose the year-round diversity of food choices. Locavore NYC would starve in a matter of weeks.

Land use in the U.S. is highly defined and measured, and agricultural systems developed and adapted to efficiently deliver healthy food to city-dwellers’ tables, city-dwellers who largely have no idea from where their food comes.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  Pflashgordon
June 3, 2022 5:34 am

The food is grown in the back rooms of the grocery stores don’t you know? Even hamburger is grown in a big vat!

May 31, 2022 2:34 pm

Studies have shown NO difference in longevity between meat eaters and vegans or vegetarians.

Eating red meat increases the probability of an early death from colon cancer but it benefits overall health to the extent that the benefits compensate for the increased rate of colon cancer. Since colon cancer is treatable if detected early, you are better off eating meat and following guidelines for colon cancer detection.

A Vegan diet without vitamin B12 supplements is guaranteed to cause neurological damage, possibly including dementia. Says so right on the Vegan Society’s webpage.

Tom in Florida
Reply to  Kip Hansen
May 31, 2022 4:36 pm

For me personally, throughout my life I have shunned vegetables and whole grains. They simply have a bitter taste to me. I have eaten mounds of fruit, cakes, pies, donuts, pastas, potatoes, red meat, white meat but have never eaten very much processed cold cuts. Lots of tuna fish sandwiches for lunch as a child, everyday for probably 6-7 years. At 65 I had my first colonoscopy and it was clean as a whistle. Nothing. Doc said “see you in 10 years”. I am not even close to being diabetic. If I don’t get my carbs I get sluggish. Maybe it is just my metabolism.
My wife, sisters and brothers ate a good amount of vegetables throughout their lives. More so in their older years as it was deemed “healthy” food. All of them have issues with their colons. Perhaps the idea that vegetables can make razor like cuts in the colon wall may be true. Do we really know what is best for each of us?
Now, may I have another piece of blueberry pie please.

May 31, 2022 3:15 pm

My cows are a lot more than 14 times the size of a chicken.

Rud Istvan
Reply to  John
May 31, 2022 5:55 pm

Actually, I researched and wrote about this in 2012 in ebook Gaia’s Limits. Turns out per plant calorie input fish is about 1:1, chicken is 2:1, pork is about 4:1, and beef(not dairy) is about 8:1. But that comparison is not fair, since grazing animals can survive on land that does not support comparison crops.

Reply to  Rud Istvan
June 1, 2022 6:25 am

What happens to those ratios if you add in the dairy calories? I’ve seen those ratios elsewhere, but I haven’t seen them with dairy added. Or is that adding apples to oranges because they are different breeds?

Reply to  Moosume
June 1, 2022 3:33 pm

Or eggs for that matter.

Peter W
May 31, 2022 3:20 pm

I spent literally years having my fingers break out in blisters. Doctor after doctor was unable to figure out what the problem was. I finally put myself on an extreme elimination diet, and several months later had the answers. I was allergic to any vegetable other than a root or leafy one, was also allergic to cow’s milk, and could eat any/all meat.

With the above in mind, I challenge any vegan to explain to me in detail why I should specialize in eating a bunch of poisonous stuff while avoiding meat.

Reply to  Peter W
June 1, 2022 6:26 am

There may be people allergic to meat out there (I’ve never heard of any, but I guess it’s possible), but they are a lot less common than people allergic to plants.

Reply to  Moosume
June 1, 2022 3:36 pm

You can also fix a LOT of issues healthwise by switching to a carnivore diet.

Our bodies know what to do with meat and fat from meat – sugars and carbs from strachy foods, not so much, so on them we wind up with stored energy we can’t break down easily and we have an obesity problem.

Ron Long
May 31, 2022 3:26 pm

This is what happens when you wind your cuckoo spring up too tight.

Last edited 1 year ago by Ron Long
Gordon A. Dressler
May 31, 2022 3:30 pm

From the above article:
“Smith writes that: ‘. . . rewilding . . .’ “

Hmmm, is that something along the lines of “unaging”?

Gregg Eshelman
Reply to  Gordon A. Dressler
May 31, 2022 7:01 pm

That’s what’s been happening to the suburbs of Detroit. A property gets abandoned, then vandalized, then burned, then the city razes the property to bare ground. That’s followed by natural plant life (mostly weeds) moving in and small wild animals.

Reply to  Gregg Eshelman
June 1, 2022 3:37 pm

A property gets abandoned, then vandalized, then burned

Burn Loot Murder have decided to not wait for it to be abandoned…

David Baird
May 31, 2022 3:31 pm

The Reverend Horton Heat: Eat Steak

Jeff Alberts
May 31, 2022 3:48 pm

Will we have to return the entire planet to Australopithecenes?

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
June 1, 2022 3:38 pm

Where is a possessive dinosaur when you need one?

Perhaps we can elevate the amoeba?

Tim Gorman
May 31, 2022 4:11 pm

“As far as I can tell, this is entirely made up – among that special class of scientific facts that are so often repeated but never have any real science behind them.”

What biodiversity loss? Deer, raccoons, coyotes, quail, pheasant, wild turkeys, hawks, owls, and all kinds of small animals *thrive* in suburban/rural interfaces. Perhaps not so much in dense urban areas but that is a small part of the total land use by humans, at least in the US.

The abundance of grasses, grains, etc in such land use provides all kinds of cover and food that feeds biodiversity.

It truly makes you wonder how many of these “scientists” ever get out of their glass houses and actually LIVE in the areas which they so cavalierly apply their theories to?

Sweet Old Bob
Reply to  Tim Gorman
May 31, 2022 4:29 pm

Yes .
They argue, for example, that land no longer needed for meat production could be used towards progressive ends, such as the creation of worker-owned farms …”

I have lived in the Flint Hills for more than 70 years . Some of the land was farmed … or was attempted to be farmed , when first settled by non native people .

That land is now almost 100% grassland now . It is hard to farm flint …


Mike Dubrasich
Reply to  Sweet Old Bob
May 31, 2022 6:38 pm

I own my farm and I am the principal worker — mainly the only worker. Also I reside here. I am a capitalist and property owner.

The Marxists hate that. Their “worker-owned farms” is thinly veiled Commie agitprop. The Commies are renowned failures at farming despite using slave labor. Famine, mass death famine, has been their legacy.

The wokies are blind to history, but the rest of us will never forget.

Chris Hanley
May 31, 2022 5:00 pm

Buried in the B.S. is the essence of the Smith’s authoritarian mindset:
“… As more corporate leaders support climate policy, coalitions change, governments can pass more aggressive measures …”.
Never mind individual choice, a stealthy fusion of big corporations and big governments will force diet change.
Smith would probably be horrified at the suggestion but as discussed in a previous thread here his attitude is an example of a growing neo-neo-fascism.

Last edited 1 year ago by Chris Hanley
May 31, 2022 5:00 pm

Plants. What my food eats.

Reply to  Rob_Dawg
June 1, 2022 8:08 am

I”m a second hand vegetarian. I eat the things that eat plants.

Reply to  Rob_Dawg
June 3, 2022 11:50 pm

Perzactly: food that food eats.

May 31, 2022 6:04 pm

These morons need to have a good look at the land where Australia grazes a lot of its meat producing animals, both cattle and sheep. Some of the graziers are lucky if they can graze more than 1 animal per square mile, especially in bad years. This year has been a bad year but because of floods, not drought. You cant grow anything like commercial food crops there. It is missing a rather vital thing called water in the quantities necessary for cropping.

May 31, 2022 6:08 pm

I think the vegans and vegetarians have forgotten one large simple fact. The best source of nutrients for their organic diet is compost originating from animal excrement. The same animal excrement they wish to prevent by eliminating its very source.
The sooner they realize this the better. And to think, the vegans won’t eat anything sourced from an animal but only willing to eat food which otherwise can not grow without animal byproducts.

May 31, 2022 6:08 pm

So we simply ignore the fact that most grazing land is unsuitable for crops and condem the ‘workers’ and natives to trying to grow a meaningful diet on poor land?

David Blenkinsop
Reply to  MarkMcD
June 2, 2022 8:01 am

Yes, we should definitely be growing cereal crops everywhere instead of grass for cows. Such a good environmental move!

May 31, 2022 6:12 pm

Global land cover disturbance appears to be peaking at this time, coinciding with global warming.

Reply to  JCM
May 31, 2022 6:21 pm

I speculate that this relates to the energetics of precipitation efficiency.

Bryan A
Reply to  JCM
May 31, 2022 7:02 pm

And too Stupidity
The Biden administration and Congress appear to have reached Peak Stupidity

Reply to  Bryan A
May 31, 2022 7:26 pm

Don’t count on it.

Try this for more analogies:

The conjecture is that the atmosphere operates in an optimized state of maximum energy export. 

Changing surface properties impacts the efficiency of the optimization regime.

We witness the total system efficiency in the variable global temperature plots.

Kevin kilty
May 31, 2022 7:02 pm

The Buffalo Commons all over again. Time to recycle old bad ideas into current bad ideas is 30 years…

Peta of Newark
May 31, 2022 7:48 pm

How many times a day do you fart?

I don’t wanna know the answer, nobody wants to know except you and especially for you to be honest with yourself.
This is not an exercise in ‘making friends’, social mediocrity, appeasement, political correctness, polite society or anything like that

This is an exercise in survival (of the species if you like)

If the answer is more than 2 or 3 times ## per day….
You Are Eating The Wrong Diet
(for a member of the Homo Sapiens family of critters)

## Wind is inevitable in some part because we need *some* plant material to get ourselves the Vitamin C we need = what we don’t ourselves make any more.
But it is not necessary to chow down an entire forest of orange-trees or 3 billion hectares of cabbages to get it

Our flatulence (funny haha, a joke, regarded as normal) is the exact same thing as the cows burping methane – they only burp significant amounts when they too are: Eating a wrong/bad diet

Wednesday haha Wonkyness: The graph of chicken/beef pork nicely, perfectly in fact, demonstrates my initial assertion/query (above) when it talks about ‘timmed‘ (sic) product.

Because the meat was and is being ‘timmed’ of the very things we are supposed to be eating.
And what’s left, is the root cause of all Modern Diseases.
ICYDK: Meat/flesh is metabolised into sugar, and makes us stinky windy/farting in the process.

The suicidal madness runs very very deep – and by it depriving us/ourselves of our evolved diet, runs ever deeper.
Wrap up warm. Where we’re headed has high temperatures but is in fact, a cold place.
Damn you: Thermodynamics and Cooling Universe

PS Did they mean ‘tinned’ – as in Corned Beef and Fray Bentos for example
The human animal cannot lie. It tries. The results are telling.
😀 😀

May 31, 2022 8:35 pm

I finally got sufficiently curious this weekend to read the list of ingredients on one of the most widely promoted alternative meat products. If anyone actually believes that a chemical concoction produced in an industrial plant is superior to meat, I’m not overwhelmed by their intelligence.

Reply to  Kip Hansen
June 1, 2022 7:46 am

Kip, sadly, so many do not understand how grazing animals make marginal (rough, steep, arid) land productive, especially in the West and Southwest.

L Flawse
Reply to  Kip Hansen
June 1, 2022 7:03 pm

For heavens sake just stick to the process. How heavily land should be stocked is a whole other argument. Pulling out examples of misuse does NOT add to your argument.

Last edited 1 year ago by L Flawse
Reply to  L Flawse
June 2, 2022 12:23 am

Absolutely. The process needs to be managed, and from history we know that government is the worst manager. Ranchers who have to rely on the productivity of these marginal lands for their financial survival, for the long term, are the best managers.

May 31, 2022 8:38 pm

This can all be boiled down to the following:

“Anything that the United States has been known for, has stood for, or is part of the stereotypical American lifestyle and experience is bad and must be abolished”

May 31, 2022 9:15 pm

WOW … what a bunch of twits. How did Zimbabwe and South Africa turn out with their farming land grabs ?

Richard Barraclough
Reply to  Streetcred
June 1, 2022 3:05 am

Farming grabs in South Africa ????

May 31, 2022 11:13 pm

Reading the excerpts best laugh so far this week. “worker owned farms” omg, it’s 1912 Russia everywhere?!?!

May 31, 2022 11:21 pm

“…land no longer needed for meat production could be used towards progressive ends” And it isn’t rocket science to know that what follows will NOT be what they suggest now as an excuse, but they will do after the cull.

May 31, 2022 11:23 pm

“…land no longer needed for meat production could be used towards progressive ends” And it isn’t rocket science to know that what follows will NOT be what they suggest now as an excuse, but they will do after culling their redistribution. 

Matthew Sykes
June 1, 2022 12:40 am

Britain used to export hunting dogs, grain, pottery and cattle to the Roman empire. Yes, cattle. Our fields have been there for millennia! They dont need ploughing, fertilisers, pesticides, tractors, diesel.

Yet they produce healthy, sustainable meat and dairy, as they have done, for thousands of years.

Cows sequester CO2, they eat grass, then enrichen the soil with their manure.

And methane is not even an issue as a GH gas, its absorption band is WV saturated.

Andy H
June 1, 2022 1:12 am
June 1, 2022 1:39 am

….religiously-established dietary code which includes eating meat sparingly and consuming a diet mostly grain- and vegetable/fruit-based….

The balance of evidence seems to show that this is the healthiest way to eat. Assuming one leaves out the usual no-no’s, like sugar and processed vegetable oils and includes pulses.

The test for any dietary regime is that one should be able to find a population which has eaten that way for multiple generations and remained healthy and viable.

This isn’t possible for pure veganism since before the synthesis of B12 it wasn’t a possible diet. I have read that the strictly vegan groups in India that did their very best at it were saved by the contamination of grain stores by insects, so they got animal source B12 in spite of themselves.

L Flawse
Reply to  michel
June 1, 2022 7:08 pm

I don’t actually eat meat but it is NOT for these quasi-religious reasons. I do eat fish etc. If I don’t pay very close attention to my Protein levels I really go hunting SUGAR and starch to a lesser extent. It can be deadly.

Ed Zuiderwijk
June 1, 2022 1:40 am

The meat vortex.

A term coined by eco-fascist vegans and vegetarians telling the rest of us there are high quality foods that we are not allowed to eat.

Ian Johnson
June 1, 2022 2:01 am

I’d say that burning coal and gas is making good use of natural resources.

June 1, 2022 2:46 am

the usda chart INCLUDED necks giblets and skin as human consumption???
whaaat? my dogs eat 33k of necks a fortnight and while theyre cooked and yummy with herbs and allsorts in winter theyre NOT suitable for human eating. what food industry is using that!! in their products for humans one has to wonder?

jeff corbin
Reply to  Kip Hansen
June 1, 2022 8:38 am

Yes in many other cultures, what we call pets are stored protein modules on four legs just waiting to be dinner. In fact our chickens are just that… stored protein modules. They produce eggs from eating bugs,(so people don’t have to eat bugs), grass, grass clippings and garbage all while being the best composters on the planet. The compost they produce is fertilizer that enables us to grow more food for the table and garbage for the chickens …may it be a circle be unbroken. We also love plant protein, sunflower seeds ,beans, grain, potatoes, (protein is in he skin) quinoa all which we grow for ourselves and our chickens as future garbage. It can be smelling disgusting work but hey it’s great food with very little dollar input.

June 1, 2022 5:27 am

Land that is needed for more solar and wind power generation.

jeff corbin
Reply to  Ack
June 1, 2022 8:44 am

True as long as you keep working and paying the taxes to fund the renewable tax subsidies to keep it going. Once those tax subsidies dry up, the windmills are abandoned and people pay to have their solar panels removed and disposed of. I would do windmills and solar panels if I actually could use the electricity, stored and distributed in my own home off grid….. but those systems don’t exist …at least not that are efficient, cost effective and practical. The NEXT GEN BATTERY Does Not Exist.

jeff corbin
Reply to  Kip Hansen
June 1, 2022 12:02 pm

Globalism requires interdependency in colluded markets. All works well until someone breaks bad and they always will. Who has time for that. SCMES just are not there yet but tons of R&D going on out there….at least it seems. Unfortunately, NG is a globalized market commodity where few even in the NG lands can benefit directly in local economies. This hill sides around the Fingerlakes in NY are full of NG but you could not drill independently for it nor run a generator off it for your local town. If you were lucky you hit it putting in a water well and didn’t tell anyone about it. The utilities saw to that. The NG company could plop a well on your land and pipe you some gas but beyond personal use and a small stipend… nada. So my Dad who grew grapes said ‘no” to the NG companies and heated his house with grape vine trunks. Maybe it is good that the Nex Gen Battery has not and may not happen….think about being inundated with robots, drones, and all sorts of moving probes LOL.

jeff corbin
June 1, 2022 7:48 am

My family (a vast mix of peoples) has been in America four hundred years and we have eaten meat, grain, vegetables, Legumes, fish and dairy the whole time. We have done our best to avoid eating saw dust, shoe leather, bark and various insects and inedible creatures. If you want to re-wild the lands of PA, then encourage any and all people groups to live on and work the marginal lands for raising fruit and vegetables and grazing goats, cows, cattle and sheep…not for show but for subsistence…and do so on any scale.. They can do virtual work for taxable dough until the economists find out that is a bad idea…. LOL. Rewilding the country side of PA in this manner would not be picturesque but it sure would be fun. People need to own some land and do something real that is real physical work. This means people don’t become decrepit in their 40’s, 50’s 60’s, 70’s 80’s and 90’s siting in front of Roku or their computers all day and they have food they have grown on the table and as fruit of their labor. We are already way too centrally planned by experts who are politically motivated and who have very little understanding of people and local economies. They just want to colonize politically and economically while forcing people into manageable urban pigeon holes of predictability and compliance. Great way to spend way too much tax dollar on medical and behavioral health and in law enforcement’s management of an ever spiraling massive substance abuse problem. Human economy, desire, behavior in local economies that are free, are way too complex for the vast majority of central planners out there to understand so they basically codify bigotry as science. Just leave us alone and let us do our thing.

Last edited 1 year ago by jeff corbin
jeff corbin
Reply to  Kip Hansen
June 1, 2022 11:47 am

Sorry to hear that Kip…terrible waste. This is what happens when millions of young men to go to battle…. the women, children and the elderly did the best the could and lawlessness ensued. The mid-west had not yet filled up with vets growing corn and raising beef to the point that every one could afford to drink whiskey and eat steak every day. Four of my great great grandfathers lost limbs in the battlefields in PA and all went west to Iowa to grow corn and beef. Gran Pop Embree lost his leg on Cemetery Ridge and went to Iowa and was so prosperous that he was able to give his 4 sons a 400 acre farm and a team of horse. My grandfathers were WWI vets and my Dad was a vet of WWII, Korea, Vietnam and the cold war with the Soviet Union. All farmers who taught me the value of subsistence farming even when there was plenty of dough for the supermarket. Not prepping or survival just good food home grown.

It could also be what happens when we leave our entire lives at the mercy of central planning experts, a colluded supply chain and radicals advocating we eat bugs. No respect what so ever of who we are as a people our heritage or our ability to grow food for ourselves.

Crispin Pemberton-Pigott
June 1, 2022 6:17 pm

Rewilding…love it!

Get 80m evil cattle off the prairies and put back 100m gigantic bison, the way it used to be.

Nature is perfect, right? Then 100,000,000 bison rampaging around burping and farting must be better for the environment than the smaller and less numerous cattle we raise now.

Sure glad the environmentalists know what’s best.

L Flawse
June 1, 2022 6:58 pm

Methane has always been in the atmosphere and that the average life of Methane in the atmosphere is 3.2 years breaking up into, quickly, CO2 and H20. Plants grow with the H2) and CO2. Cows eat the plants and emit a variety of C atoms in various compounds. Did I miss something in my University education and there is actually some king of nuclear reacion going on in the Rumen that creates C atoms? How can the cow emit more C atoms than it eats????
Then, given that the whole biosphere is responsible for just 10% of all methane emitted into the atmosphere, the amounts attributable to cows that temporarily hang around are very small. On top of that India has the most cows in the world – about 400M. If Mr Hansen wants to conduct a crusade, please go to India and start slaughtering some of the cows in the local market.
Talk about barking at the moon – that doesn’t rate. This baloney about Methane is barking MAD – or is it just another tool in the Fascist attempt to destroy anyone who thinks as an individual. Farmers are pretty good at that.

June 2, 2022 12:09 pm

“Worker owned farms”. Yes, as I’ve been saying, they want all the energy for themselves while us peons have to engage in subsistence farming among the windmills, gathering bird and bat carcasses in the morning for protein for as long as that lasts.

June 3, 2022 11:46 pm

So very odd. Almost like it comes from an urbanite that has never set foot on a farm or a ranch.

Tiny clue: livestock generally isn’t situated on agriculturally productive land. It certainly occurs, but generally speaking livestock is put onto land that won’t yield crop productively year in, year out.

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