Time to savour that juicy steak, chicken wings and delicious pork tenderloin, because within the next 40 years we’re all going to have go vegetarian. That’s according to a group of scientists from the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI). Researchers there point to water usage in livestock production as the main limiting factor of our current meat-heavy diet.

While some, like the Huffington Post, offer articles on how to become vegetarian slowly, because this is apparently a) a good thing and b) inevitable, I chose to look at the actual study rather than the vegetarian label most media outlets are focusing on. Buried further in the reporting are two statistics I think we should be looking at more closely (and, in fairness, SIWI itself leads with.

Read the actual discussion from SIWI here): one, that a shocking percentage of food is wasted either in storage or in the home, and, two, that while a billion or so people on earth don’t have enough to eat, a billion or so are obese. Do we all need to give up meat, really? Or are there other issues that need to be addressed first or concurrently?

North Americans currently eat a whole lot of meat; per capita the U.S. has the second highest meat consumption in the world. A past story on RealAgriculture.com highlights that Americans eat nearly 300 lb of meat a year. That’s a lot of protein to displace in just a generation or so.

What do you think? Are we headed to all veggies all the time, status quo or somewhere in between?

9 thoughts on “We’ll All Be Vegetarian Soon: Report

  1. Since we need the water that the livestock drink are we going to kill off all of the existing livestock so we can survive? I have always wondered what would happen to the animals if we were to quit slaughtering them for meat consumption. Seems to me we need to eat more meat.

    1. It would be very interesting to see how the government of either the US or Canada would try to sell that. Is there any other country that has a luxury tax on meat?

      I don’t understand why meat is such a focus instead of chocolate bars and candy.

  2. A lot of water is used in irrigation around the world. Most of it is used to grow crops eaten by humans. Beef cattle in particular can get by on marginal ground – we are more likely to see more grass fed beef and less corn fed beef. People do not consume the same kind of grass as humans.

  3. It seems that all the talk about water use is missing one important fact: water does not get used up in meat production (or any other use), it ends up being recycled and re-used. Water does not disappear. The water that cattle drink ends up as urine which is recycled when the manure is spread on the field, the water that gets used in a meat packing plant goes through the treatment facility and ends up back in the environment, etc, etc, etc. I keep seeing the say thing in other industries, it take x amount of liters of water to produce one liter of beer……, even the water in the beer gets recycled cause as any beer drinker knows “you only rent it”

  4. I think there will be, or should be, more focus on water used for crop irrigation and water used for cosmetic irrigation (landscaping, lawns) rather than livestock.

    Food waste is also a huge area for improvement. George Morris Centre has relates a decent study on this with staggering results.

    I will be enjoying BBQ this weekend, might hold off on watering my lawn.


  5. FROM TWITTER: @shaunhaney @realag_lyndsey I think my grandsons first word was meat. Ask what he wants to eat-EAT. #vegetariannotanytimesoon

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