History professor Claire Strom recently delivered a paper at the European Rural History Conference in Paris. The paper, entitled “Let Them Eat Beef: Global Beef Consumption Since World War II,” was presented in conjunction with a panel on postwar global food consumption.
Strom found that the consumption of beef has remained steady in terms of per capita consumption in the decades since the war. However, she found many regional differences, including a decrease in beef consumption in the developed world and an overall increase in developing areas. Additionally, an increase in global population since 1950 has significantly contributed to overall beef consumption in the ensuing decades, which has had a negative impact on both human health and the environment.
“This paper is part of a larger project that will highlight the importance of cattle in the creation of the world we live in today,” says Strom. “Cattle provided the protein and motive power for much of the industrial revolution, helped Europeans colonize much of the rest of the world, and contribute substantially today to global warming and environmental degradation.”