From Steven Shapin’s recent New Yorker article on the history of vegetarianism:
A recent report by the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organization reckons that at least eighteen per cent of the global-warming effect comes from livestock, more than is caused by all the world’s transportation systems.
The number of vegetarians in developed countries is evidently on the increase, but the world’s per-capita consumption of meat rises relentlessly: in 1981, it was 62 pounds per year; in 2002, the figure stood at 87.5 pounds. In carnivorous America, it increased from 238.1 to 275.1 pounds, and the practice is spreading in traditionally herbivorous Asia. Indians’ meat consumption has risen from 8.4 to 11.5 pounds since 1981; in China, it has increased from 33.1 to an astonishing 115.5 pounds.
I can’t believe the average American eats three-quarters of a pound of meat every day. That’s gross. On a related note, did you know that meat is the most shoplifted item in American supermarkets?