"The sad irony is that the world produces more than enough plant food to meet the needs of all its six billion people. If people used land to grow crops to feed themselves, rather than feeding crops to animals, then there would be enough to provide everyone with the average of 2360 Kcal (calories) needed for good health."
“If everyone were to take 25 per cent of their calories from animal protein then the planet could sustain only three billion people (8). In simple, brutal terms, if we were all to imitate the average North American diet, we would only be able to feed half the world’s population."
"Starvation does not occur because of a world food shortage. If everyone ate a vegetarian, or better still, a vegan diet there would be enough food for everyone. The only sane way forward is to grow food for humans rather than to feed it to farmed animals.."
The Ethiopian famine of 1984, was fueled by the meat industry. “While people starved, Ethiopia was growing linseed cake, cottonseed cake and rapeseed meal for European livestock,” he says.
“Tragically, 80 percent of the world’s hungry children live in countries with food surpluses which are fed to animals for consumption by the affluent.”
RESPECT FOR PEOPLE
The food choices we make have an impact on all living beings on the planet - including humans. “People go hungry because much of arable land is used to grow feed grain for animals rather than people.” Jeremy Rifkin president of the Foundation on Economic Trends in Washington, DC
What We Can Do To End World Hunger
The following article was written by Evan Driscoll, a staff writer at VegOnline.org VegOnline is a comprehensive website that covers a variety of topics regarding the vegan and vegetarian diet. Articles cover everything from vegetarian recipe to lifestyle, to tips on health.
.........................................................Veganism and World Hunger Global hunger is responsible for millions of deaths each year, manifesting itself in a variety of forms. One way is through sheer starvation – dying from a lack of calories. Although a serious issue, starvation is responsible for fewer deaths than its not-so-distant cousin, malnutrition.
.......................................................Global Hunger and Malnutrition Malnutrition is a diet that is unbalanced; too much of one nutrient, or not enough of another. This results in leaving the body susceptible to illness and disease, as various systems in the body cannot protect against its environment or support vital functions. 925 million people currently suffer from chronic malnutrition – a leading cause of death. The World Health Organization (WHO) sites malnutrition as the single greatest threat to public health.
For instance, iron is an essential nutrient that everyone needs to live. It is also commonly absent in many impoverished diets. One estimate puts the number of iron deficient people in the world at a staggering 2 billion. Iron deficiency leads to anemia – an affliction that inhibits blood’s ability to transport oxygen around the body. This is especially dangerous in children, where it can severely inhibit brain development, elevate the risk of infections, and greatly increase the chances of death if a child contracts malaria (which is common). 20% of maternal deaths can be attributed to anemia. And iron deficiency is just one nutrient. Zinc, vitamin A, iodine… these are all essential nutrients that are often absent in the impoverished diet.
.....................................................Global Hunger and Meat Production So, how does this all relate to meat production? Meat production is inherently inefficient – it requires huge amounts of caloric input for meager caloric output. It takes 16 pounds of grain to produce 1 pound of animal meat - and that doesn’t include all the fossil fuels, synthetic fertilizers, and water that’s involved, as well. The inefficient conversion from grain to beef is because of all the other functions an animal must perform in order to produce the muscle and fat that is consumed. They have to keep their heart beating, produce heat, build bone, work their digestive track, and everything else that is inherent to living.
Let’s put it another way: 1 acre of land can produce 165 pounds of meat (roughly 131,670 calories) or 20,000 pounds of potatoes (roughly 8,440,000 calories). Of course, potatoes will not provide you with all the nutrients you need to be healthy (although they are a highly underrated source of nutrition), but the point is clear – growing plant-based calories is far more efficient than processing it through living animals.
.........................................................Population and Food Supply The world population is growing, and quickly at that. There are currently 6.75 billion people in the world. By 2050, this number will jump to a staggering 9.3 billion. One of the best ways to feed the world’s population is to ensure that we have enough food to feed it, and abstaining from meat and all animal products is the most effective way to meet this end. Instead of depending solely on the next technological miracle (first tools and tractors, then pesticides, then genetically modified food), we can free up more than enough food to spread around by simply not eating meat, or at least eating it sparingly.
What complicates the issue further, is that there is more than enough calories to currently feed everyone on earth – even with the insanely inefficient meat we’re producing. There are around 2700 calories produced for every person on the planet right now per capita. The problem is, is that much of these calories are produced on the back of oil, so this number will drop once peak oil hits and we’re all left twiddling our thumb. A plant based diet is more efficient, more sustainable, and will – in the short and long run – feed far more people than one that emphasizes meat production.
A 2010 report by the UN says that a shift to the vegan diet (not merely a vegetarian diet) is crucial to solving world hunger. But world hunger is a highly complex issue, one that involves the issues of food supply, distribution, how the state and private sector interact, global capitalism… all of these have profound effects on world hunger. One thing is sure, though: consumption and production are inextricably linked, and by cutting out all meat products from your diet, you will be having a direct and positive effect on world hunger.