What is the Vegetarian Beef About World Hunger?
By Bridget Diana Soeder
Twenty-million people die annually due to hunger and its
effects. Although this is a result of many complex interrelated geographic,
social and economic factors, the remedy to this tragedy is ideally quite
simple. An even slightly more equitable distribution of food resources
(which could be fueled by a larger agrarian output) would alleviate much
Within the United States alone, if Americans reduce the amount
of meat consumption by just 10%, it would free up enough land to grow 12
million tons of grain -enough to save the millions of children and adults
starving to death on our planet each year.
The United States however, is not alone in its potential
to increase its’ crop yields through a reduction of meat production. Many
additional countries have a suitable climate, the farmable landmass, and
technology to grow an adequate surplus of food, which could assist in the
ending of world hunger.
Consider that there are 2,805 calories available
worldwide per person per day, yet the minimum requirement for caloric intake
needed, is set at 2,300 per person per day. Even while maintaining the first
world citizens high caloric intake, slightly modifying this population’s
diet away from meats towards more vegetables, fruits, and grains could
result in more available calories which may then be used to help the less
fortunate people of this earth.
Compare the following facts about food production:
It takes 23 gallons of water to produce a pound of tomatoes.
It takes 5,214 gallons of water to produce a pound of beef.
One acre of land can produce 20,000 pounds of potatoes.
One acre of land can produce 165 pounds of beef.
It takes 1 pound of grain to make 1 pound of bread.
It takes 20 pounds of grain to make 1 pound of beef.
Also compounding the problem is the fact that much of the
food that is produced in the third world is often exported to first world
countries. The United States is the world’s leading importer of beef and
fish. The vicious cycle of poverty sends these commodities abroad to markets
that do not exist at home. This cycle is in some part, perpetuated by the
poverty induced by unnecessarily high levels of animal farming.
Unfortunately most of the foreign aid sent to third world
countries do not even reach the people it is intended to help. 75% of the
grain sent to third world nations goes towards livestock production. This
livestock ends up in the U.S. and Western Europe.
So it is clear, not only that greater produce and grain
yields must be produced and distributed more favorably, but also that these
distribution channels must be efficient in aiding the people who starve …
not the westerners who are already stuffed.
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