The over-consumption of meat is damaging to human health and the environment. It is facilitated by factory farming, which reduces feeling, thinking creatures to bulk commodities.

Over-consumption is promoted by artificially low prices. There’s clearly something wrong when pork is priced at 99 cents a pound while broccoli costs $2.49 a pound. Reducing meat consumption will require a multi-faceted approach.

1. Prices should reflect meat’s environmental cost (water extraction, land conversion, soil loss, pesticide and fertilizer runoff, raw sewage contamination, methane and CO2 emissions, etc.)

2. Ban confinement operations where animals are unable to move around and are exposed to unbearable levels of odor, noise, and filth.

3. Ban the use of antibiotics to promote rapid growth. This would simultaneously help slow the evolution of drug-resistant microbes.

4. Eliminate agricultural subsidies for corn and soybeans, which are primarily used for animal feed.

5. Redirect subsidies to healthy fruits, vegetables, grains, and tubers.

6. Promote (through subsidies and government-funded research) algae and seaweed farming.

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7. Promote insect farming.

8. Promote vegetable-based meat substitutes.

9. Promote sustainable inland "closed loop" aquaculture/hydroponic facilities that emphasize herbivorous freshwater fish species like tilapia.

10. Slow down the disassembly line in each slaughterhouse to a comfortable level and improve overall working conditions.

11. Expand animal cruelty laws to include domestic animals raised for food. This would include banning the barbaric and agonizingly slow methods of halal and kosher slaughter in which a blade is dragged across the throat of a terrified animal.

Mike Diamond

Rock Island

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