The Meat of the Issues is the author website for Arturo P. J. Watts, whose two goals are 1) to aim the spotlight at the biggest problems facing humanity and, in accordance with this first goal 2) to discuss the massive and growing impact of high global meat consumption, which is among the top contributors to a long list of humanity’s greatest challenges.

 In pursuit of both of these aims, Watts believes it’s essential to be transparent and as non-biased as possible.  That’s why all claims in the writing on this site are transparently cited for readers to verify and correct as they like in the comments.

Watts also believes that it’s more important than ever to provide a different perspective from the cultural commentators who are decidedly pro-meat or anti-meat. Rather than vilify or defend meat, Watts’ goal is simply to represent its role in the world accurately and allow readers to draw their own conclusions.  As such he has avoided any anti-meat slant in his writing and invites you to take him to task wherever he may fall short of these ideals.

Jaras Watts is a vegan bodybuilder and writer living in Southern China.  He is fluent and literate in English, Mandarin and Spanish, he loves playing ping pong and suspects he could qualify for a Guinness world record for most tofu eaten in a 1 year period. He advocates for reduced meat consumption (Preferably veganism but he’s trying to meet people where they’re at) with a focus on China and the US which are the number 1 and 2 meat-consuming countries on earth, respectively.

He is also an aspiring writer and really appreciates when people sign up for his email list and share his work.

More on his twin goals below:

  1. Discussing the biggest problems:
    The Meat of the Issues is for readers who want to know about the biggest issues and not just the ones which air because they get good ratings or trend on social media.
    Social problems are like vectors, in physics.  They have a direction AND a magnitude, but public attention often overlooks magnitude and scale to focus on the most emotionally traumatic or divisive issues. Thus, people get focused on problems like terrorism and breast cancer, (which are both so easy to hate) to the exclusion of problems with a far greater impact but less, shall we say, PR.

    For example, heart disease actually kills about ten times as many women as breast cancer and takes a preventable death toll on the scale of two or three 9/11 attacks every week and suicide takes about 200 to 300 times more American lives than terrorism every year and is far more preventable than attacks which make use of everyday materials like fertilizer (Oklahoma city bombing) and pressure cookers (Boston marathon bombing).

    Chinese pig farmer holding handfuls of imported grain.

    What’s missing is an information source which systematically covers the biggest and most impactful problems in society as opposed to simply the day to day stories that bounce around our echo chambers.  The Meat of the Issues takes a step back to look at the biggest problems facing a growing human population.  As a result, this necessarily brings us to the second goal:

  2. Highlighting the impact of high meat consumption.
    Rising meat consumption is having a massive and largely underestimated impact on humanity.  When Adam Smith wrote published The Wealth of Nations (the original foundation of economics as a field) in 1776, the human population was just under 1 billion.  As a result, his observation (quoted on the cover of this website) that farmland is much more productive than pasture didn’t much matter.  But as the earth’s population approaches 8 billion AND incomes rise, the resulting boom in meat consumption plays great pressure on the planet’s strained resources and exacerbates a baffling array of social problems.The mass production of meat and dairy is one of the top two or three contributors to many of humanity’s greatest challenges.  From pressure on food prices and poverty, to deforestation, to reckless groundwater depletion, to climate change, to the proliferation of western diseases like obesity, diabetes and heart disease and the resultant stress on public finances, eating less meat is one of the most effective ways of addressing these problems.

    A voluntary reduction in meat consumption is the most powerful thing people can do to address the many challenges we now face.  This website shows why this is the case and how people can act on it.

  3. Chinese Meat Market
    The pork section of a Chinese “Wet Market” in Zhongshan, China. Photo by Arturo P.J. Watts