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Half Of World Crop Is Feeding Animals, Not People

Environment  (tags: Vegetarianism, Sustainabililty )

- 2917 days ago -
Agricultural production accounts for a staggering 70% of the global freshwater consumption, 38% of the total land use, and 14% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions...

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Ben O (154)
Tuesday June 22, 2010, 11:08 am
Agriculture and food consumption are identified as one of the most important drivers of environmental pressures, especially habitat change, climate change, water use and toxic emissions.
The use of fossil energy carriers for heating, transportation, metal refining and the production of manufactured goods is of comparable importance, causing the depletion of fossil energy resources, climate change, and a wide range of emissions-related impacts.
The impacts related to these activities are unlikely to be reduced, but rather enhanced, in a business as usual scenario for the future. This study showed that CO2 emissions are highly correlated with income. Population and economic growth will hence lead to higher impacts, unless patterns of production and consumption can be changed...

Ben O (154)
Tuesday June 22, 2010, 11:18 am
Cattle and beef production is a primary threat to the global environment. It is a major contributor to deforestation, soil erosion and desertification, water scarcity, water pollution, depletion of fossil fuels, global warming, and loss of biodiversity.
Cattle ranching is a primary cause of deforestation in Latin America. Since 1960, more than one quarter of all Central. American forests have been razed to make pasture for cattle. Nearly 70 percent of deforested land in Panama and Costa Pica is now pasture.
Some 40,000 square miles of Amazon forest were cleared for cattle ranching and other commercial development between 1966 and 1983. Brazil estimates that 38 percent of its rain forest was destroyed for cattle pasture.
Just one quarter-pound hamburger imported from Latin America requires the clearing of 6 square yards of rain forest and the destruction of 165 pounds of living matter including 20 to 30 different plant species, 100 insect species, and dozens of bird, mammal, and reptile species.

Soil Erosion and Desertification
Cattle production is turning productive land into barren desert in the American West and throughout the world. Soil erosion and desertification is caused directly by cattle and other livestock overgrazing. Overcultivation of the land, improper irrigation techniques, and deforestation are also principal causes of erosion and desertification, and cattle production is a primary factor in each case.
Cattle degrade the land by stripping vegetation and compacting the earth. Each animal foraging on the open range eats 900 pounds of vegetation every month. Their powerful hoofs trample vegetation and crush the soil with an impact of 24 pounds per square inch.
As much as 85 percent of U.S. western rangeland, nearly 685 million acres, is being degraded by overgrazing and other problems, according to a 1991 United Nations report. The study estimates that 430 million acres in the American West is suffering a 25 to 50 percent yield reduction, largely because of overgrazing.
The United States has lost one third of its topsoil. An estimated six of the seven billion tons of eroded soil is directly attributable to grazing and unsustainable methods of producing feed crops for cattle and other livestock.
Each pound of feedlot steak costs about 35 pounds of eroded American topsoil, according to the Worldwatch Institute.

Water Scarcity
Nearly half of the total amount of water used annually in the U. S. goes to grow feed and provide drinking water for cattle and other livestock. Producing a pound of grain-fed steak requires the use of hundreds of gallons of water. Producing a pound of beef protein often requires up to fifteen times more water than producing an equivalent amount of plant protein.
U.S. fresh water reserves have declined precipitously as a result of excess water use for cattle and other livestock. U.S. water shortages, especially in the West, have now reached critical levels. Overdrafts now exceed replenishments by 25 percent.
The great Ogallala aquifer, one of the world's largest fresh water reserves, is already half depleted in Kansas, Texas, and New Mexico. In California. where 42 percent of irrigation water is used for feed or livestock production, water tables have dropped so low that in some areas the earth is sinking under the vacuum. Some U.S. reservoirs and aquifers are now at their lowest levels since the end of the last Ice Age.

Water Pollution
Organic waste from cattle and other livestock, pesticides, chemical fertilizers, and agricultural salts and sediments are the primary non-point source of water pollution in the U.S.
Cattle produce nearly 1 billion tons of organic waste each year. The average feedlot steer produces more than 47 pounds ofmanure every twenty-four hours. Nearly 500,000 pounds of manure are produced daily on a standard 10,000- head feedlot. This is the rough equivalent of what a city of 110,000 would produce in human waste. There are 42,000 feedlots in 13 U.S. states.

Depletion of Fossil Fuels.
Intensive animal agriculture uses a dis proportionate amount of fossil fuels. Supplying the world with a typical American meat-based diet would deplete all world oil reserves in just a few years.
It now takes the equivalent of a gallon of gasoline to produce a pound of grainfed beef in the United States. The annual beef consumption of an average American family of four requires more than 260 gallons of fuel and releases 2.5 tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, as much as the average car over a six month period.

It feels good to be vegetarian (since 1975) -really!

Ben O (154)
Tuesday June 22, 2010, 11:37 am
Beef production causes human hunger and poverty by diverting grain and cropland to support livestock instead of people. In developing countries, beef production perpetuates and intensifies poverty and injustice, particularly if beef or livestock feed is produced for export.

The fact is that there is enough food in the world for everyone. But tragically, much of the world's food and land resources are tied up in producing beef and other livestock -- food for the well-off -- while millions of children and adults suffer from malnutrition and starvation.

The mathematics are simple. For every pound of feed-lot beef on our plates, a cow eats nine pounds of grain and soy feed. In the 1980's, the world grain supply alone was enough to provide every human on the planet with 3,600 calories a day -- more than enough to meet everyone's average nutritional requirements. As Frances Moore Lappe, author of Dietfor a Small Planet, explains, "Our food system takes abundant grain, which hungry people can't afford, and shrinks it into meat, which better-off people will pay for." Cattle and other livestock eat 70 percent of the grain..

It just came to my mind; -35 years without meat...and I'm still alive...!!!

Mack David (100)
Tuesday June 22, 2010, 2:26 pm
With the world population as it is .............
People have to stop using meat as a food source .
No demand,no supply.

Linda Mills (104)
Wednesday June 23, 2010, 11:37 pm

Angelika R (143)
Thursday June 24, 2010, 3:11 am
Many thanks to Ben for this EXCELLENT report and post! I would wish for this text to be placed outside each and every McDonald's and all other fast / junk food facilities making business with meat on the expenses of our planet. Not to mention the ethical aspect concerning the animals. The paradoxical or even perverted side of practice comes clearly to light from this report. Maybe people will come to better senses when the world ran out of energy and they have to eat their meat RAW. You bet they WILL QUIT THEN:

greenplanet e (155)
Thursday June 24, 2010, 3:43 am
"Agricultural production accounts for a staggering 70% of the global freshwater consumption, 38% of the total land use, and 14% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions."


The exorbitant water use/ pollution from raising animals conerns me... as well as deforestation to raise meat ... as well as the ethics of large-scale animal industrial farming ... not to mention the use of chemical fertilizers and other chemicals ... and so on...

KS Goh (0)
Thursday June 24, 2010, 4:40 am
Thanks for the article.

Sharon Balloch (127)
Thursday June 24, 2010, 5:03 am
So basically what they are saying is children are starving so some folks can eat steak...

David R (45)
Thursday June 24, 2010, 5:10 am

Robert A (25)
Thursday June 24, 2010, 5:19 am
Greatly reduce consumption of meat if not just stop all together.

Ben O (154)
Thursday June 24, 2010, 6:57 am
Thanks Folks!
You know, people like eg Al Gore don't want to hear about these facts...

"Animals are my friends, and I don't kill (eat) my friends"
(George Bernard Shaw)

Ben O (154)
Thursday June 24, 2010, 7:20 am
In 1970 the averages for annual meat consumption per capita in the USA:
Beef: ~ 80 pounds
Chicken: ~ 27 pounds
Pork: ~ 54 pounds
Turkey: ~ 7 pounds
A total of 168 pounds (around 76 kilograms) per year.

In 2005 the averages for annual meat consumption per capita in the USA:
Beef: ~ 63 pounds
Chicken: ~ 60 pounds
Pork: ~ 48 pounds
Turkey: ~ 14 pounds
A total of 185 pounds (around 84 kilograms) per year.
Growth: 17 pounds
(Source: USDA)

In Sweden meat consumption has increased by 50% since 1960.
In Brazil -"- 300%!!!
etc, etc, etc...

C. G (1)
Friday June 25, 2010, 2:43 pm

Patricia S (79)
Saturday July 10, 2010, 2:22 pm
noted. we need to eat food that is healthy for us and our bodies. Feed the hungry on our planet

Patricia C (96)
Saturday July 10, 2010, 5:29 pm
Thanks for the article Ben. Even if I didn't feel the way I do about not eating my fellow animals, I can see the wisdom of a more plant-based diet. As have many minds MUCH greater than mine.

Bracha Katz (31)
Sunday July 11, 2010, 1:15 pm
GO VEGAN!!! Thanks Ben
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