Photo Credit:  Peter Hellberg

Photo Credit: Peter Hellberg

Free Animals, Free the Land, Feed People

60,000 people starve to death every day, largely because most of the food grown on the planet goes to feed animals. So much of the Amazon is being destroyed to raise crops to  feed animals. In addition, land that could by used to grow crops for humans is destroyed through cattle grazing.

Food is used as a weapon to be sure. Withholding it, controlling it or charging exorbitant rates for it, is a cruel method of domination by the wealthy nations. However, we regular folks can learn and understand how consuming meat and animal products contributes to world hunger and starvation and make compassionate choices based on this.

Here’s what the GoVeg website says about ending hunger and starvation: GoVeg.com

Meat Means Misery for the Hungry

There is more than enough food in the world to feed the entire human population. So why are more than 840 million people still going hungry?1

Our meat-based diet is partly to blame, as land, water, and other resources that could be used to grow food for human beings are being used to grow crops for farmed animals instead. According to a recent report by Compassion in World Framing, "[c]rops that could be used to feed the hungry are instead being used to fatten animals raised for food." It takes up to 16 pounds of grain to produce just 1 pound of edible animal flesh.

The average adult human burns about 2,000 calories per day, just living his or her life. We use almost all the calories that we consume to move around, breathe, and do everyday tasks. The same is true of farmed animals. For every pound of food that they are fed, only a fraction of the calories are returned in the form of edible flesh. The rest of those calories are burned away raising the animal to slaughter weight or contributing to feathers, blood, and other parts of the animal that are not eaten by humans. This is why animals raised for food have to eat as many as 16 pounds of grain to create just 1 pound of edible flesh.2

Because the industrial world is exporting grain to developing countries and importing the meat that is produced with it, farmers who are trying to feed themselves are being driven off their land. Their efficient, plant-based agricultural model is being replaced with intensive livestock rearing, which also pollutes the air and water and renders the once-fertile land dead and barren.

If this trend continues, the developing world will never be able to produce enough food to feed itself, and global hunger will continue to plague hundreds of millions of people around the globe. The Guardian explains that there's only one solution: "It now seems plain that [a vegan diet] is the only ethical response to what is arguably the world's most urgent social justice issue."3

1 Alex Kirby, "Hungry World 'Must Eat Less Meat,'" BBC Online, 15 Aug. 2004. 2 Mark Gold and Jonathon Porritt, "The Global Benefits of Eating Less Meat," 2004, p. 22. 3 George Monbiot, "Why Vegans Were Right All Along," Guardian Unlimited, 24 Dec. 2002.

As we develop an understanding of how consuming animals and their products negatively effects millions around the world, we can choose a vegan lifestyle, encourage others to do the same and educate others about the importance of this choice.

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