The value of the meat of one cow raised in an industrial feedlot is about $2,000 in the supermarket. A new report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) shows that in terms of environmental damage - soil erosion, air and water pollution, acid rain, deforestation, global warming and loss in biodiversity - and damage to our health the cost ist more than 3 times the entire value of the meat - $6,600.
This means that the real price of industrial beef would need to be 4.6x of what it is today - nobody would buy it!
On the other hand organically raised, grass-fed cattle are an important part of sustainable agriculture and have a positive impact on our environment. But it costs 50% more in the supermarket and most consumers think it is too expensive.
One day, when true-cost-accounting of external costs of our actions will become self-evident and universal (hopefully i am not talking about some fictional future here), it will truly be mind boggling how we could have had such little awareness to treat our planet with such disregard.
This report by the FAO shows that the total external cost of industrial agriculture is $2.33 trillion per year. More than the entire value of the food being produced.
For further reading please check out:
The Ecologically Optimal Amount of Animal Products is not Zero. Far from it.
1 kg of Beef takes 100'000 Liters of Water! - no it does not!!
Cattle vs. the Climate
The moral case for eating meat
The Greatest Ecological Cock-up of recent History
Your organic vegetables are all meat eaters!