You’re right about meat being considered a luxury, or perhaps an occasional food is a better choice of words given the fact that an animal dying isn’t a luxury in my mind. People eat far too much meat. What were once expensive cuts, such as steak, have become cheaper with factory farming providing more meat at lower cost, regardless of the health, animal welfare and environmental cost. Even salmon, which I can remember was once a luxury food in the UK, is now so extensively farmed in Scotland that sea lice are plaguing the salmon industry. Sea lice aren’t an issue where fish swim freely.
I agree with your views here Ben that if people could eat meat occasionally and we saw a return to polyculture — like Polyface farm in Virginia — we could produce enough meat to satisfy demand without destroying wildlife habitat, depleting water resources and abusing animals on a mind-blowing scale. We would have fewer health problems too. People need to be prepared to pay a bit more for meat that is farmed naturally, and to eat smaller portions to keep the cost down. Spending money on food that is better for health, planet and animals is more important in the long term than spending on phones, TVs, clothes, leisure and so on. We can start looking outwards, beyond our own interests, to consider our place in the wider world. Not an easy thing when we’ve allowed ourselves to be sucked into a capitalist system.