The meat hook: satiating Asia’s demand for beef

Beef has never been a favored meat in most of Asia. Cows are harder to raise than chickens and pigs, which take up less space and can be fed scraps. A large majority of India practices Hinduism, a religion that reveres cows. Islamic societies, too, have traditionally disliked beef. Beef is also often costlier than other types of meat. But with mean disposable incomes climbing in many Asian countries, everything has changed. China’s explosive growth spurt highlights this trend. Just thirty years ago, beef was so rare in China it was known as “millionaire’s meat”. But China’s growing appetite for beef means that more of it needs to be produced each year. As for how much more, a projected 2.5 million additional metric tons between the years 2010 and 2025, or about the weight of 1.25 million rhinos – far more rhinos than are found on Earth.

Keep reading