There are 59 billion animals alive at any one time, farmed for their meat. The world's domestic cattle weigh 16 times as much as all the wild animals on the planet put together. Sixty percent of the globe's agricultural land is used for beef production, from growing grain to raising cows.Since the early 20th century, industrial farming and global capitalism have worked hand-in-hand to provide meat at an ever-cheaper price. And our appetites, so tempted, have led us to consume more and more animals. In the US, each citizen eats on average 120 kg of meat per year. And they're not alone. Our insatiable desire for meat has defined how we use our planet.
But cheap meat comes at a price. Planet Carnivore gets under the skin of the health problems that over-consumption brings; of modern farming's destructive use of resources; and of the stretched and strained farms and abattoirs that lead to horsemeat in beef burgers and challenging moral questions about our relationship with our food.
Alex Renton's brilliantly researched, utterly compelling Guardian Short serves up the grisly stories, and also looks at how we are beginning to try and pay the cheap meat bill, from innovative twists on current techniques to cutting-edge scientific breakthroughs.