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Arts & Culture

The Truth About Meat

Michael Mosley with a cow on a UK farm. Visiting vast, intensive farms—like the American feedyard where 50,000 cattle are fed a scientifically designed diet of corn and chemicals—as well as free range organic farms, Michael finds out what sort of meat we should be eating and whether there is an eco-friendly way to raise it.
Courtesy of Chris Openshaw/ BBC 2014
Michael Mosley with a cow on a UK farm. Visiting vast, intensive farms—like the American feedyard where 50,000 cattle are fed a scientifically designed diet of corn and chemicals—as well as free range organic farms, Michael finds out what sort of meat we should be eating and whether there is an eco-friendly way to raise it.

Airs Wednesday, July 27, 2016 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

Every year 65 billion animals are raised and slaughtered for their meat. That’s nine animals for every person on Earth. In this eye-opening documentary Michael Mosley reveals the damage livestock farming is doing to the planet.

Livestock have a massive impact on the environment. Nearly a third of the planet’s ice-free land surface is devoted to raising the animals we either eat or milk. Thirty percent of the crops we grow are fed to animals.

Michael Mosley with cattle at Flying W Ranch, Colorado Springs, Colo.
Courtesy of Susannah Wilkinson/ BBC 2014
Michael Mosley with cattle at Flying W Ranch, Colorado Springs, Colo.

How safe is eating meat?

There have been a lot of news reports about the health risks of meat eating, but are they justified? Dr. Michael Mosley writes for BBC News about his Horizon investigation.

Read Michael's article

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimates suggest that livestock are responsible for 14.5 percent of man-made greenhouse gas emissions – the same amount produced by all the world’s cars, planes, trains and boats put together.

It is also predicted that meat production is going to double in the next 40 years. Can the planet cope with our ever increasing appetite for meat, and what meat should we be eating if we want to minimize our impact on the world?

Visiting vast, intensive farms—like the American feedyard where 50,000 cattle are fed a scientifically designed diet of corn and chemicals—as well as free range organic farms, Michael finds out what sort of meat we should be eating and whether there is an eco-friendly way to raise it.

Is it possible to be an eco-friendly carnivore? Michael also meets the farmers who think that a return to more traditional farming methods, a more efficient use of our food waste and a little cutting back on personal consumption of meat could mean meat for everyone without damaging the planet.

You can follow @DrMichaelMosley on Twitter.

Credits: A BBC production. Series editor is Steve Crabtree.