Eating red meat increases the risk of premature death says a major new report by the Harvard School of Public Health.
This latest study showing that red meat consumption is a health hazard will likely be welcomed by opponents of factory farming. After all, anything that potentially reduces the demand for meat should be good news for animal welfare, the environment and human health. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Like many studies showing the health risks associated with eating red meat, this one recommends switching to alternatives such as fish or poultry – options that are fraught with environmental, sustainability and animal welfare problems.
VHS launched an Eat Less Chicken project specifically to counter suggestions that chicken is a more acceptable choice than red meat. In terms of pound-for-pound animal suffering, eating poultry is among the worst options, as billions of chickens are inhumanely raised and slaughtered to provide relatively small amounts of meat. While poultry production is not as environmentally damaging as, say, intensive pig farming it still has considerable negative impacts.
If substantial numbers of people were to start replacing red meat with fish, it would likely further devastate global fish stocks, three quarters of which are already either fully or over exploited.
The simple truth is that moving toward a plant-based diet is the best way to reduce our impact on the environment, improve our health and prevent animal suffering.
For more information see our Eat Less Meat webpage.