"Most people eat meat, but few meat-eaters have a clear understanding of the industry that provides their food. If they did, they would eat better-produced meat, less meat, or no meat at all.
But meat-eaters – like vegetarians – are understandably emotional and defensive about their eating habits. The rituals of such an intimate part of daily life are unlikely to be swayed by cold, hard facts alone.
Perhaps maps can do what those facts alone cannot. Cartography, an older language than writing, bypasses the inner critic who allows agreeable facts to add to our bias and labels disagreeable ones as 'fake news'.
The maps shown below are a selection from the Meat Atlas, a study produced by Friends of the Earth Europe and the Heinrich Böll Stiftung, a foundation allied to the German Green Party.
The Atlas is not anti-meat. It merely aims to illuminate a global industry that is remarkably obscure, considering the major impact it has on our daily lives, and on the planet as a whole. Alternatives to the agro-industrial complex are mentioned. Yes, vegetarianism is one of them. But so is responsible, organic farming.
Along the way, the study is packed with amazing stats. Such as the fact that livestock produce nearly one-third of the world's greenhouse gases. Or that in 2012, India overtook Brazil as the world's biggest exporter of beef – if you count buffalo as beef. If you do, about a quarter of the beef on the world market is now in fact buffalo meat from India, which is a dollar a kilo cheaper to produce than beef…"