Why Meat is the Best Worst Thing in the World πŸ”

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Humans love meat. Steak, fried chicken, bacon, pork belly, and sausages are just the best things! Eating meat has become so trivial that many people don't consider something a proper meal if there's no animal involved. Which is pretty amazing, since only a few decades ago meat was a luxury product. Today, you can get a cheeseburger for a dollar. Paradoxically, meat is pretty much the most inefficient way of feeding humans. If we look at it on a global scale, our meaty diet is literally eating up the planet. Why is that, and what can we do about it, without giving up steak? β™ͺ Catchy intro tune β™ͺ Humans keep a lot of animals for food: Currently about 23 billion chickens, 1.5 billion cattle, and roughly 1 billion pigs and sheep. That's a lot of mouths to feed, so we've transformed earth into a giant feeding ground. 83% of its farmland is used for livestock. For example as pasture, and to farm fodder crops; like corn and soy. That's 26% of earth's total land area. If we include the water we need for these plants, meat and dairy production accounts for 27% of global freshwater consumption. Unfortunately; meat production is like a black hole for resources. Since animals are living things, most of their food is used to keep them alive, while they grow their tasty parts. Only a fraction of the nutrients from fodder crops end up in the meat we buy in the end. Cows, for example, convert only about 4% of the proteins and 3% of the calories of the plants we feed to them into beef. More than 97% of the calories are lost to us. To create one kilogram of steak, a cow needs to eat up to 25 kilos of grain and uses up to 15,000 liters of water. Animal products are guzzling up tons of food, but they only make up 18% of the calories humans eat. According to projections, we could nourish an additional 3.5 billion people if we just ate the stuff we feed to animals. To make our favorite food group even more unsustainable, about 15% of all greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans, are created by the meat industry; as much as by all ships, planes, trucks and cars combined. And... there's another aspect to meat: It comes from actual living beings. Pigs, cattle and chicken are not the ones writing the history books, but if they were, humans would appear as rampant genocidal maniacs, that thrive on suffering. Globally, we kill about 200 million animals every day, about 74 billion a year. This means that every one and a half years, we kill more animals than people have lived in the entire 200,000 year history of humanity. One could argue that we're doing them a favor: after all, they wouldn't exist without us. We might eat them in the end, but we also provide food and shelter, and the gift of existence to them. Unfortunately, we're not very nice gods. A lot of our meat comes from factory farms: huge industrial systems that house thousands of animals. Engineered to be as efficient as possible, they have little regard for things like quality of life. Most pigs are raised in gigantic windowless sheds, and never get to see the sun. Sows are kept in pens too small to turn around, where they give birth to one litter of piglets after another, until it's their turn to be turned into bacon. Dairy cows are forced to breed continually to ensure their milk supply, but are separated from their calves hours after birth. To fatten up beef cattle for slaughter, they're put in feedlots: Confined pens where they can't roam and put on weight more quickly. To make it possible to keep them so tightly together without dying of diseases, the majority of antibiotics we use are for livestock: up to 80% in the US. Which helps in the short term, but also fuels antibiotic resistances. But the ones that may have got the worst deal are chickens. In factory farms, they're kept in such vast numbers and so close to each other, that they can't form the social structures they have in nature, so they start attacking each other. To stop that we cut their beaks and claws. Male chickens are deemed worthless: since they can't lay eggs and are not suitable for meat production. So within minutes after birth, they're usually gassed and shredded in grinders. Several hundred million baby chickens are killed this way each year. Even if you had a personal score to settle with chickens, how we treat them is beyond broken. So, better buy organic meat where animals are treated nicely, right? Organic farming regulations are designed to grant animals a minimum of comfort. The problem is that "organic" is an elastic term. According to EU regulations, an organic hen still might share one square metre of space with five others. That's a long way off from happy farmyard chickens. Farms that sincerely do their best do exist of course, but meat is still a business. An organic label is a way to charge more money, and countless scandals have revealed producers looking for ways to cheat the system. And while organic meat might be less cruel, it needs even more resources than conventional meat production. So, buying organic is still preferable, but does not grant you moral absolution. The truth is, if suffering were a resource: we would create billions of tons of it per year. The way we treat animals will probably be one of the things future generations will look down on in disgust. While all these things are true, something else is true too: Steak is amazing; Burgers are the best food; Chicken wings taste great. Meat satisfies something buried deep in our lizard brain. We hardly ever see how our meat is made: we just eat it and love it. It creates joy, it brings us together for family meals and barbecue parties. Eating meat doesn't make you a bad person. Not eating meat doesn't make you a good one. Life is complicated and so is the world we've created. So, how should we deal with the fact that meat is extremely unsustainable, and a sort of horrible torture? For now, the easiest option is opting out more often. Taking a meat-free day per week already makes a difference. If you want to eat meat produced with less suffering: try to buy from trusted producers with a good track record, even if it costs more. To make an impact on the environment: go for chicken and pig, rather than lamb and beef, as they convert their feed more efficiently into meat. And if you're going to have your steak: you should eat it too! An average American throws out nearly a pound of food per day, a lot of which is meat. In the future, science could get us clean meat. Various startups have successfully grown meat in labs, and are working on doing so on a commercial scale. But solutions like this are still a few years away. For now, enjoy your steak, but also respect it. And if you can: make it something special again. We have something else for you that's also special, and tastes even better than steak! We get asked a lot how we make our videos, we thought we'd just show you. Kurzgesagt teamed up with Skillshare, our favorite online tutorial service, to teach you our unique animation style. We've just released part three of our animation tutorial series, where you can learn to animate a scene from our videos. Skillshare is an online learning community with over 20,000 classes in all kinds of cool stuff, like writing, illustration and animation. With their premium membership, you get unlimited access to high-quality classes from skilled professionals. One of them is us! And we also snagged a special offer for you: The first 1,000 people to use the link in the description get two months of unlimited access for free! If you want to learn how we animate our videos, you can start there today. β™ͺ Outro tune β™ͺ
Channel: Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell
Views: 7,068,033
Rating: 4.7609015 out of 5
Keywords: meat, eat animals, vegetarian, vegan, chicken, steak, sausage, bacon, burger, cows, calf, cattle, animals, pigs, sheep, pork, beef, poultry, farmland, water, dairy, milk, protein, calories, food, health, greenhouse gas, CO2, animal rights, animal liberation, antibiotics, ecological, organic, sustainable, unsustainable, lab meat, satire, funny
Id: NxvQPzrg2Wg
Channel Id: undefined
Length: 8min 48sec (528 seconds)
Published: Sun Sep 30 2018
Reddit Comments


Seriously, they have such a strong viewership and are generally pretty fucking spot-on with what they say. I was wondering why they hadn't made a video on this topic already.

πŸ‘οΈŽ︎ 155 πŸ‘€οΈŽ︎ u/[deleted] πŸ“…οΈŽ︎ Sep 30 2018 πŸ—«︎ replies

Veganism is going to click in a bunch of people's heads because of this video. Yes, the video could be better -- but the video at its present quality is still extremely powerful, considering Kurzgesagt's audience and reach, and the quality of their content.

πŸ‘οΈŽ︎ 436 πŸ‘€οΈŽ︎ u/[deleted] πŸ“…οΈŽ︎ Sep 30 2018 πŸ—«︎ replies

I was stoked when i saw this in my sub box. I clicked on it, and the ad was for Arby's.

I'm not sure to which party this cosmic irony is directed at.

πŸ‘οΈŽ︎ 72 πŸ‘€οΈŽ︎ u/Grokrash πŸ“…οΈŽ︎ Sep 30 2018 πŸ—«︎ replies

While I very much disagree with the way this video ended I think the best part of this was the page of sources he links to in the description


Honestly super nice to have for reference all on one place like that. Add it to the sidebar

πŸ‘οΈŽ︎ 258 πŸ‘€οΈŽ︎ u/punsexuel πŸ“…οΈŽ︎ Sep 30 2018 πŸ—«︎ replies

I've been on and off again veganism for a while, and this video bought me here to look for healthy vegan recipes. I think I will try to go the whole of October as a vegan and see how it goes. If I can manage it okay, I will then make it a permanent thing. Thank you for the reminder, it is too easy to shut my eyes to the crulty that happens behind closed doors.

πŸ‘οΈŽ︎ 198 πŸ‘€οΈŽ︎ u/LostToTheMoon πŸ“…οΈŽ︎ Sep 30 2018 πŸ—«︎ replies

I imagine this will reach a lot of people for whom this is new information, which is awesome. Hopefully it will change some minds. Even though most of what's presented is obvious to us now and arguably doesn't go far enough in some ways (it's only a 9 minute video, it's not going to be comprehensive), we're obviously not the target audience.

I was a full-on gallon of milk a day guy for a while. Double meat on every sandwich I ordered. I think I took home a full trash bag of cheese cubes from my friend's wedding. Then a few years ago I googled "Why don't vegans drink milk?" and I was done. I ate the last of the greek yogurt in my fridge and never bought an animal product again (not on purpose at least, I made the mistake of not reading some labels in the beginning - looking at you, Ragu). Some people know how awful the industry is and don't care, but I think a lot more people genuinely don't know, or don't want to know.

πŸ‘οΈŽ︎ 19 πŸ‘€οΈŽ︎ u/patches_o_hoolahan πŸ“…οΈŽ︎ Sep 30 2018 πŸ—«︎ replies

I know it sounds cliche as hell but seriously, like and share this video with your friends and family. Kurzgesagt is one of the largest and most well known channels on YouTube and millions of people will see this, so this video from them means a lot.

πŸ‘οΈŽ︎ 156 πŸ‘€οΈŽ︎ u/Nadia_Chernyshevski πŸ“…οΈŽ︎ Sep 30 2018 πŸ—«︎ replies

Keep enslaving blacks, just respect the cotton they pick!

πŸ‘οΈŽ︎ 177 πŸ‘€οΈŽ︎ u/FreightCrater πŸ“…οΈŽ︎ Sep 30 2018 πŸ—«︎ replies

Sometimes having an impartial observer of a situation influences people a lot more. I think this video does an excellent job of educating people on one aspect of the situation, without inciting mass anger, which is what most of us would probably do if we created said video.

πŸ‘οΈŽ︎ 37 πŸ‘€οΈŽ︎ u/Openworldgamer47 πŸ“…οΈŽ︎ Sep 30 2018 πŸ—«︎ replies
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