It's a shocking figure isn't it?
In addition to this, more than 4 million pigs are also killed every single day and millions of other animals in the nightmarish world of factory farming*.
Although I'm neither vegetarian nor vegan, I do recognise that these figures are unacceptable and so I have been making efforts to cut down on meat consumption as part of a plan to implement a more responsible diet. It's a moral conflict I have to deal with but we have to be realistic, there is no sign of the wider world turning vegan, let alone vegetarian, and so we need to find a way to end the terrible over consumption of meat - and more importantly to stop the abominable treatment of animals that has become part of the whole unpalatable process.
The Way Forward: Cultured Meat
If there were ever an argument for cultured meat - the mass production of real meat grown without animals - then the mind boggling numbers of animals killed each day should be enough reason to embrace the 'meat without animals' ethic.
Because the truth is that people are clearly not going to give up eating meat any time soon - and meanwhile 180 million chickens and many millions of other animals are being slaughtered every single day to feed gluttonous human beings.
Cultured meat, also known as 'lab meat' and 'clean meat', is real meat grown from animal cells but without the need for animals.
It's undoubtedly the way forward.
A Matter Of Education
People consume far too much meat, a trade fuelled by advertising, the trend for fast food and a gross lack of education. When my generation was growing up, we ate chicken perhaps once a week. We ate lots of vegetables and many meals were produced using humble ingredients. It's not only healthier but more economical - but that way of approaching food has been lost and has given way to pure greed, a trend symbolic of the 21st century and all that is wrong with the world.
Many young people, at least in the western world, are fed a diet that is far too meat centric. The rise and rise of fast food chains illustrates this. It is seen as a treat to make frequent visits to unhealthy fast food chains where high fat, low quality food like burgers or vile chicken 'nuggets' are consumed in vast quantities. One wonders whether many of this generation would even be able to prepare a meal from raw ingredients, let alone one that contained any kind of useful nutrition.
It's unhealthy, unsustainable and unethical.
Shameful Disregard For Animal Welfare
But the biggest shame - and it is very shameful - is that figure.
180,000,000 chickens killed every day to satisfy human greed.
The sooner cultured meat reaches the marketplace the better. The unimaginable cruelty that animals suffer at the hands of humans to satisfy selfish gluttony is frankly disgusting.
Many times when I advocate the merits of cultured meat, I am met with a less than enthusiastic response. Claims that the process is somehow 'unethical' or that it smacks of sinister Frankenstein-like meddling with our food, are spurious. It is less 'meddled with' than all the mass produced supermarket meat that is consumed today, some of which has been pumped full of Lord-knows-what to make it bigger and heavier than it would naturally be - and filled with chemicals to counteract the disease that would normally occur under the cramped and unnatural conditions under which the animals are raised.
An Ethical Way Forward
Israeli company Supermeat are one of the pioneers in the production of cultured meat. I've written about them before but it seems apt in the light of these appalling figures to reference them again. It's not only the fact that switching to cultured meat will mean an end to the immense cruelty associated with factory farming but, as Supermeat's website points out "according to research, switching to clean [cultured] meat will allow a reduction of up to 98% in greenhouse gas emissions, 99% in land exploitation, and up to 96% in water usage."
That is why I support the efforts of companies such as Supermeat and others who are striving towards a world where factory farming will be a thing of the shameful past.
Many will call me a hypocrite for eating meat whilst criticising the meat industry but to be honest, that's not the point. I see and acknowledge all that is wrong with factory farming. It is symptomatic of a world where ethical thinking is fast disappearing. Greed and gluttony are becoming acceptable traits.
Cultured meat would provide the solution to at least one of the world's problems.
And to those who remain sceptical I ask: can you live with the knowledge that 180,000,000 chickens lose their lives each and every day to satisfy your craving for a cheap meal?
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