If you're in the market for New Years resolutions, here's one: cut back on eating meat.
Ninety-nine percent of the meat we eat comes from factory farms. Industrial livestock production is worse for the planet than the pollution from all transportation combined.
What's more, our beloved chicken and turkey are mutating on account of this heavy production. Inside the factory farms, turkeys have lost the ability to reproduce and most chickens can't live past 40 days, and if they do their bones break. (Plus, a North Carolina factory farm gave the world swine flu)
If the corporations giving us this "mutant meat" are being regulated with the same indifference as the banking and housing industries, can we trust the meat we eat?
One heart-breaking story of a 22-year-old Minnesotan dancer paralyzed from eating e. coli in her Cargill ground beef burger would say, no. It's time to meet our meat. Haunted by her story yet too squeamish to sit through a PETA video that would surely traumatize me into becoming a vegetarian, I've found a kindly guide: Jonathan Safran Foer's "Eating Animals."
Foer says I can still have my Christmas goose and grilled cheeseburger on the Fourth of July -- eat meat when you want to, simply cut back. You would be doing the world and your health a favor. I tried it for two weeks, and I have to tell you, I saved money and felt lighter. Though I got into trouble when it came to ordering at my favorite Cuban restaurant.
"Food is not just logic... It's our cravings, it's our family histories, it's how we celebrate, it's connected to our memories, to our identities. And so making what might seem to be very easy changes, simply ordering something else at the restaurant, is apparently a lot more complicated than it seems," says Foer in Walletpop's Big News Podcast.
To hear more on industrial meat production, how writing this book has impacted Foer's fiction and the massive cost of "cheap meat," check out Walletpop's interview with Foer below:
Jonathan Safran Foer on eating animals and a cheeseburger on 4th of July