Some stats on meat-eating

These stats about meat are something to think about.  I’m not a vegetarian, and if the mukhabarat see this I probably won’t be allowed back into Jordan 🙂 but it’s worth thinking about how what we eat affects the environment and global economy, especially with Ramadan coming up.  I got this from here but I think it’s been printed many times:

One thousand acres of soybeans yield 1124 pounds of usable protein.

One thousand acres of rice yield 938 pounds of usable protein.

One thousand acres of corn yield 1000 pounds of usable protein.

One thousand acres of wheat yield 1043 pounds of usable protein.

Now, consider: this one thousand acres of soybeans, corn, rice or wheat, when fed to a steer, will yield only about 125 pounds of usable protein. This and other findings points to a disturbing conclusion: meat-eating is directly related to world hunger.

Some nutritionists, environmentalists and politicians have pointed out that if the United States were to feed that same grain to the poor and starving people of the world as is fed to livestock, we could wipe out starvation and its corollary horrors. In fact, Harvard nutritionist Jean Mayer estimates that reducing meat production by just 10% would release enough grain to feed sixty million people.

It is a matter of record: in terms of land, water and resources, meat is the most expensive and inefficient food anyone can eat. Only about 10% of the protein and calories we feed to livestock is returned in the meat those animals provide. In addition, hundreds of thousands of acres of arable land are occupied in raising livestock for food. One acre used to raise a steer provides only about one pound of protein. That same one acre planted with soybeans will produce 17 pounds of protein. In short, raising animals for food is a tremendous waste of world’s resources.

“To grow one pound of wheat requires only 60 pounds of water, where as production of a pound of meat requires anywhere from 2,500 to 6,000 pounds of water.” – Paul and Anne Ehrlich, Population, Resources and Environment.

“To derive 1kg. of meat protein, the animal has to be fed 7-8 kg’s. of vegetable protein. It has also been estimated that to obtain 1 animal-flesh calorie, 7 vegetarian-plant-food calories have to be spent. Data compiled by the American agriculture department shows that the land needed to graze 1 average animal can sustain 5 average families of human beings.” – Gopinath Aggarval, Vegetarian or Non-vegetarian: Choose Yourself.

“An average American consumes about 120 kg’s. of meat every year and to obtain it about 1000 kg’s. of food grains are fed to the animals. If the same Americans consume food grains directly then at least 8 people can be fed for a whole year with the same quantity as is required for flesh food for only 1 person. Professor George Borgstorm has estimated that the amount of plant food fed to the animals in America alone would be enough to feed 1/2 the human population of the world.” – Gopinath Aggarval, Vegetarian or Non-vegetarian: Choose Yourself.

“If a cow yields an average of 10 kg’s. of milk per day for an average of 10 month in a year, it amounts to 3000 kg’s. of milk which can satisfy the hunger of 6000 persons once. In its 15 productive years on an average, a cow in its whole life can thus satisfy the hunger of 90000 persons at least once. But if the same cow is killed and its flesh used for eating, it cannot satisfy even 100 persons one time.” – Gopinath Aggarval, Vegetarian or Non-vegetarian: Choose Yourself.

“A diet of grains, vegetables, and beans will support twenty times more people than a diet of meat. As it stands now, about half the harvested acreage in America is used to feed animals.” – Dr. Aaron Altshul, Proteins: Their chemistry an Politics.

“Research shows that for every sixteen pounds of grain we get back only one pounds of beef”. (USDA’s Economic Research Service)

“The over consumption of meat by the rich means hunger for the poor.” – report to the United Nations World Food Conference, Rene Dumont, an agricultural economist at Frances’ National Agricultural Institute.


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