Friday, January 14, 2022

In Defense of Plant Based Meat

My Letter to the Editor

Reno Gazette Journal

January 12, 2022

"No Future in Manufactured Meat" by Jim Hightower (RGJ 1/2/22) will be one of the most erroneous editorial opinions this year. The article is peppered with scientific jargon to scare the reader about substances in plant-based meat. But these substances can be found in many foods consumed routinely. Hightower states a hyperbolic past cost, but today a 4oz plant-based meat hamburger putty is about $2 at Costco. 

Hightower asks, “who needs a meatless burger?” Everyone who likes meat does! The cattle industry is the number one agricultural source of greenhouse gasses worldwide, a major source of climate change that affects everyone. In June 2020, UC-Davis research estimated that livestock are responsible for 14.5% of global greenhouse gasses. 

Based on a large US-based study by the Harvard School of Public Health, in 2012 the National Institutes of Health informed that red meat is linked to increased risks of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers: “one additional serving per day of unprocessed red meat over the course of the study raised the risk of total mortality by 13%”. 

Last month, the White House stated that high meat prices are caused by four monopolists in the US meat-processing controlling 85% of the market: Beef prices in November were up 21% from a year ago and climbing. 

Other benefits of increased substitution of red meat by plant-based meat include the reduction of animal slaughter, the reduction of water and land pollution from massive amounts of animal waste, and reduced handling, transportation and energy consumption because plant-based products are produced closer to the consumer.