If you have ever been to a shelter or other type of Thanksgiving feed-in, you know there are a lot of hungry people in America. In fact, more than 37 million low-income people face hunger in the U.S. and one out of every eight children under the age of 12 will go to bed hungry.
Yet, a simple solution to hunger continues to be overlooked…….
How many more people could we fit around the proverbial table
(U.S. & globally) if we consumed a vegan diet?
Cow, pigs, chickens, and other farmed animals consume more than 70% of the corn, wheat, oats, and other grains grown in the U.S. In addition to these grains, 90-95% of soybeans grown in the U.S. are used to feed livestock. In regard to corn, 99% of corn grown in the U.S. is field corn (not sweet corn that people eat), the majority of which is used for feeding livestock. Instead of feeding people directly, we funnel massive amounts of resources (land, water, fossil fuels, plant products, and fish) into raising animals for food for far fewer people (and often not those who are the hungriest.)
An Acre of Leafy Vegetables produces 15 TIMES MORE PROTEIN Than An Acre Devoted to Meat Production.
Yes, according to an article in Synthesis/Regeneration, 1999, an acre of cereal is estimated to produce 5 times more protein than an acre devoted to meat production; an acre of legumes (such as beans, peas, lentils) 10 times more; and of leafy vegetables, 15 times more.
The land required to produce 1/4 pound of hamburger can
produce 36 pounds of potatoes.
For every acre of land used to grow food for people, there are 14 acres used to grow food for livestock feed. It takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of meat and only 25 gallons to produce 1 pound of wheat. It takes 3 1/4 acres of land to produce food for a meat-eater and 1/6 of an acre to produce food for a vegan. (2006 United Stations Report: Livestock’s Long Shadow)
Around the world, 925 million people are hungry and more than 16,000 children die every day from hunger-related causes. Meanwhile, approximately 2/3 of U.S. grain exports are for feeding livestock, not people. While it would take just 40 million tons of food to remedy extreme cases of world hunger, the farmed animals in Western countries consume more than 540 million tons of food. Approximately 1.4 billion people around the world could be fed with the grain and soybeans fed to cattle in the U.S. alone.
Beyond feeding more people, eating a plant-based diet will improve health and reduce skyrocketing health care costs. Studies show that eliminating animal products from the diet helps people to avoid and even reverse chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and cancer. Animal-based products are laden with saturated fats and cholesterol, not to mention containing residual drugs and deadly pathogens. Plant sources of protein are higher in fiber and a wide variety of other nutrients, as well as lower in fat and calories, and less costly too! The protein in dark green vegetables is also easier for the body to absorb and utilize than is animal-derived protein. More info about plant-based protein from PCRM.
The equation is very simple. Less animal-based foods = fewer hungry people. Help more people go to bed healthy and nourished. Live Vegan.
For lots of resources on how and why to live vegan, visit www.livevegan.org.