This House would ban the Sale and Consumption of Meat
Tom and Oscar blog their winning debate, all credit to the Year 11 girls who held their own against their more experienced opponents (editor)
Ladies and Gentlemen, today Tom and I will be opposing the motion, This House would ban the sale and consumption of meat. I will be talking about the meat industries effect on the global economy and what a catastrophic disaster the ban would be and the efficiency of meat production. My partner Tom will be focusing on the more human side of the debate looking at diet, human enjoyment and animal ethics and regulations. I would first like to make it explicitly clear we concede that over-consumption of meat is a global issue that needs to be tackled, but we completely disagree with the proposition’s solution to this global challenge.
On to my first point, the meat industries effects on the global economy. Around the world 26% of all workers are employed into this crucial agricultural sector (Guardian). This is a huge number of people to simply cut off from their livelihoods with a worldwide ban. Does the proposition know that they would be wholly responsible for 1.3 billion people losing their job? (Guardian) This cannot simply be fixed by employing them into the new vegetarian dystopia as such infrastructure will not be immediately put in place so countless millions and even billions will be gripped by poverty and famine. Is the opposition prepared to knowingly cause such a crisis?
If we look closer to home, in the UK the red meat sector contributed £1.75 billion pounds to the UK economy last year and has 800,000 people working in it. In addition to this, exports of red meat products from the UK surpassed the £1.2 billion mark in 2017, according to the latest figures from HMRC which is an all-time high. We are already suffering with a huge national debt and with this industry being one of the last bastions of the British economy…. To lose it would be a foolish decision.
It is all well and good for the proposition to stand where we are today, arguing for what they see as the good of humanity and animals from their atop their moral organic high horse in Western Society. Yet they fail to even consider those around the world in poorer countries who not only rely on meat to survive but also for employment. It will be these people that will starve and have their communities torn apart, as the proposition sit and eat their 100% organic Tofu and sip on their pumpkin spiced latte’s.
In essence the proposition is proposing the systematic destruction of billions of jobs in one of the worlds oldest industries, we will not stand for it! It is clear this is the just the beginning of a slippery slope for the proposition, next they will ban animal produce such as eggs, then they will turn on the agricultural sector and ban fertiliser as it is not ‘natural’. This will end with the eradication of farming as we know it!
These other industries are just more well-regulated, extensive and crucial economic infrastructures that will topple leading to further suffering for those in poorer countries.
This leads me on to my second point, the efficiency of red meat production compared to the alternatives. As humanity has been farming meat for thousands of years we have become marvellously efficient at it. However, the proposition would have you believe that our meat production is causing huge damage to environment. I will shed some light on the falsehood of this compared to the alternatives.
First of all, meat does not use up anymore water than say nuts, it actually uses less. This is clear as the water footprints for chicken came in at 4,325l/kg, pork at 5,988l/kg but some non-meat products were far higher such as nuts came in at 9,063l/kg. (Nuts are a large part of vegan’s sources of protein). (Scientific American magazine)
Chicken uses up less than half the water than the same proportion of nuts do.
Another reason we are so efficient is that livestock keep the soil beneath them full of nutrients as any pasture they eat they re-fertilise with manure. Their manure can also be used further as natural fertiliser for other crops instead of using non-natural fertiliser which causes eutrophication. Therefore, by removing all livestock bred for meat (as the ban would entail) would require artificial fertiliser on a scale never before seen by mankind. This would undoubtably lead to a shortage and the mass decay of fertile land.
Hence the argument of land being freed up by the ban for crops is made redundant.
Furthermore, rice is an essential part of the Asia’s economy and is the continents staple food source. If meat were to be banned a huge increase in the production of rice would be necessary to support the meat-free diet. Past estimates from national environmental conferences (eg Paris Peace conference) have suggested that 5 per cent of human-induced climate warming can be attributed to rice farming which is about 1,200 coal fire power stations. However new research is being conducted by the National Academy of Sciences which is finding that previously undetected Nitrous Oxide could massive increase these figures.
These impacts will undoubtably spiral exponentially if meat is removed from the global diet, a factor the proposition has again overlooked. How can the proposition lecture us on the apparent environmental adversities caused by the meat industry while simply ignoring the catastrophic events that could occur if we follow with their ban?
To conclude, the meat industry is essential to our global economy and to the livelihood of 26% of the planets population. However, the opposition wishes to rip away this infrastructure and its age-old foundations to leave billions in famine and poverty. Therefore, I ask you to support the opposition and prevent such global economic and humanitarian disasters.
As Confucius said, ‘A man who does not think and plan ahead will find trouble right at his door’.
We are planning ahead and can see the flaws of this ban, and now we hope you can too.
Ladies and gentlemen, today my partner Oscar and I will be contesting the motion that this house would ban the sale and consumption of meat. I will be showing you that meat is essential part of a balanced diet, looking into the dangers of banning meat, and our long-standing relationship with it. While Oscar has already discussed the affect banning meat will have on the economy, and the efficiency of its production.
Ladies and gentlemen, we all know it is essential to follow a balanced diet to be healthy. Going back to our GCSE Biology days, we know that proteins, vitamins, minerals, and lipids are essential in a good diet – all of which can be found in meat. One of the best meats for these dietary building blocks is chicken.
A 100g serving of chicken contains 25g of protein (essential for muscle growth), Iron (needed for an efficient circulatory system), Sodium (crucial for enzymes), and unsaturated fat – according to the US Department of Agriculture.
To get the same amount of protein from tofu, we would need 310g of it, and 1. 7kg of tofu to get the same amount of sodium. Chicken – the forerunner of white meats – also contains anti-depressants, Phosphorus and Vitamin A & B. It is a meat bursting with essential dietary components.
Now the opposition may try and tell you that meat causes cancer and heart disease. But we think the main cause of these health complications is not meat – good-quality meat prepared and cooked properly is beneficial for us.
It is the fast food industry – with high amounts of sugar, saturated fats and salt – that leads to an obese and ill population. Surely ladies and gentlemen, it would make more sense to ban fast food outlets than meat?
Meat simply is nature’s way of providing us with large amounts of what we need to live healthily in one food source – of course we cannot live solely off meat but compared to the alternatives it is one concentrated foundation for a balanced diet.
The Washington post published last year: “If you stop eating beef, you can’t replace a kilogram of it with a kilogram of broccoli. You have to replace it with 6.7 kilograms of broccoli,” Ladies and gentlemen, why should we ban meat when it is a major part of a healthy diet?
On to my second point, banning meat would be dangerous for animals as well as for us.
The current animal ethics laws and regulations – both EU and British law – protect animals. In 1998 the European commission passed a directive which stated that all animals kept for farming purposes must reflect the “five freedoms” – freedom from hunger and thirst; discomfort; pain; injury and disease; fear and distress, and freedom to express normal behaviour. These laws will no longer apply to animals that will be slaughtered after the ban.
However, the proposition has failed to foresee, in their fight against logic, that a global ban on meat will create a massive black market for such goods. This will still mean meat is being produced; as alcohol was still brewed and shipped to America during prohibition. But the meat produced will be of very low quality, and full of chemicals as no meat regulations will apply. Ladies and gentlemen, we love meat, and I’m certain that if it were banned, meat would still be sold on a black market. This meat will be of poor quality, and it would be extremely hard to police. I ask the proposition how would we be able to stop the sale and consumption of meat?
Surely people could just have pet chickens – for eggs – that would mysteriously die and then that family would have a nice Sunday roast? Making something completely illegal never solves the problem – it simply moves it underground. Prohibition did not work – it failed. The war on drugs has not worked. So why would the outlawing of meat be any different?
Ladies and gentlemen, on to my third point: human beings have a long-standing love affair with meat. According to the guardian in 2017 200g of chicken was bough per person per week. Historically, we have always eaten meat – right back from our hunter gatherer days. One only has to look at one’s teeth to see that we have evolved to eat meat.
But even more so is that eating meat has made us human – researcher Manuel Domínguez-Rodrigo from the university of Madrid found that the human brain only developed as it did due to meat consumption. He commented “I know this will sound awful to vegetarians, but meat made us human.”
5.7% of the UK population is vegetarian (The Times), that means 94.3% of us like – or love – to eat meat. Why on earth should we stop the overwhelming majority of people from eating something that they like? If we must cut down on eating meats – a simple tax will suffice – perhaps putting a 15% VAT on red meats to prevent over indulgence.
According to the BBC, the revenue from George Osbourn’s sugar tax was expected to yield £500m a year – last year the government received £275m. This shows how people stopped buying sugary drinks due to the tax – and has led to a healthier selection of drinks in Tesco’s between lessons. I’m sure a simple red meat tax would cut down the amount of red meat people eat.
Ladies and gentlemen, today I have told you why meat is key in a balanced and healthy diet. How banning meat sales and consumption would be a legal nightmare and would just lead to an underground, unchecked prohibition-like black market and how humans just simply have always and will continue to love meat.
Ladies and gentlemen imagine you’re having your annual summer BBQ with your extended family. Uncle Joe, sitting in a deck chair, sipping on a cold bottle of beer. Your father lifts the BBQ lid, and to your surprise the once sizzling mound of burgers, kebabs and sausages have been replaced with floppy lettuce, burned onions and the inescapable aroma of charred Tofu. This is not a world we would want to live in.
I ask you why should we replace our 1kg of beef with 6.7kg of broccoli? Why stop eating a food source that is rich with proteins and vitamins and minerals? Why ban something we have all loved for thousands of years?