Meat eating is down among Americans, says a rather incendiary CME Group report on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s December forecasts. Data indicates, says the report, “Americans will consume 12.2% less meat and poultry in 2012 than they did in 2007.”

Three chief reasons for the change, it goes on, are growing exports; higher costs, in part due to rising feed prices faced by farmers; and “the fruition of 30-40 years of government policy.”The CME Group is clearly unhappy about the trend, but I think it’s pretty fabulous. I also think there could be other catalysts behind it.

In 2007, Hudson Foods recalled 25 million pounds of hamburger meat linked to E. coli contamination — a hardly isolated event, but one that hopefully gave Americans something to think about when deciding what to have for dinner.