“If Americans alone took the food currently fed to farm animals in the United States, we’d have enough food to feed the world’s hungry”
Starvation hurts. Hunger and malnutrition are some of the most serious problems facing humanity. Global hunger is at an all-time high, with about 1 billion people in the world going to bed each night hungry. As the world’s population continues to increase, and developing countries are increasing their meat consumption, a catastrophe is in the making. Here’s why!
Meat, poultry, dairy, and eggs represent the end process of a great inefficiency in food production. When we eat farm animals and animal products, we are, in effect, eating the grains, grasses, and legumes that the animals ate. Since the animals need the energy, protein, and other nutrients contained in their feed for their own energy, body maintenance, and repair, and since much of their bodies are inedible, very little is left for human consumption. Farm animals are, in reality, food factories in reverse.
For instance, a cow will give us as beef only 10% of the protein and 4% of the calories it consumes. The rest is used by the cow to enable it to live and breathe throughout its lifetime. With 56 billion farm animals raised globally each year, you can see just how much food is being wasted.
Wasting food by feeding it to farm animals fuels the global hunger crisis. With developing countries quickly changing from their traditional plant-centered diet to a western-style, meat-centered diet, it’s easy to see how hunger and malnutrition can spread. Many of these people live in countries which could feed themselves, but farmers, policy makers, and governments choose to feed crops to farm animals instead of people. The result is that they often need to import grain to feed their human population. This is expensive and drives up prices. A rising global population makes wasting food this way even more harmful.
Growing crops to feed farm animals not only replaces inexpensive nutritional protein with expensive nutrition, but also reduces the total amount available for human consumption because so much is wasted by the animal.
Vegetarian diets are the solution to global hunger, or at the very least the biggest part of it. With few exceptions, those countries with chronic hunger and malnutrition problems could feed themselves, if they would only stop taking their crops and feeding them to animals, and make them available for people instead. These countries would also save a lot of money since they would no longer need to pay for imported food.
Yes, the world’s population is rising quickly, and that puts pressure on global food supplies, but a vegetarian diet could easily support a world population much larger than today’s. With a rising population, the only sustainable way out of the global hunger crisis is by reducing meat consumption or becoming vegetarians.
Here’s one hunger relief organization that talks about the need to encourage plant-based nutrition rather than animal products:
www.awellfedworld.org – A Well-Fed World is a hunger relief and animal protection organization working with grassroots groups in the U.S. and internationally on feeding and food production programs.