Harming Animals Harms Humans, part 2: Hunger
Animals: Tradition - Philosophy - Religion Article from All-Creatures.org


Stephen Kaufman, M.D., Christian Vegetarian Association (CVA)

Harming Animals Harms Humans, part 2: Hunger

One-third of the world’s harvested grains is fed to nonhumans for the purpose of generating meat, flesh, and eggs, and in the United States this figure is two-thirds. Most of the plants’ energy, much of their nutrients, and all of their fiber is lost in this process. It is well known among animal advocates (and anyone else concerned about world hunger) that we could feed far more people with plant-based diets than animal-based diets.
There are other important factors that lead to hunger, however. Free-market economies utilize resources in the most economically efficient manners, and it is more profitable for corporations and governments to use farmland to generate foods that those with money want (i.e., meat, eggs, and dairy) than to generate foods that those with little or no money need. Political conditions, such war, ethnic strife, and political disenfranchisement of poor people, often relate to economic conditions and contribute to hunger. I will comment in future essays on how addressing economic and political issues is closely linked to addressing animal issues.
What about raising animals on lands that are not suitable for growing crops? Many impoverished people receive much-needed nutrition this way. Putting aside important animal welfare and environmental considerations, I find this question quite interesting from an intellectual standpoint and at the same time quite irrelevant from a practical standpoint. Intellectually, I think about how acceptance of grazing on lands not suitable for crops will always encourage wider consumption of animal products, and that generates pressures to increase productivity by utilizing prime crop land to grow plants for farmed animals.

From a practical perspective, we have (and probably should have) limited control over what impoverished people do to survive. What matters most to humans and nonhumans are the choices made by those of us with access to a wide range of healthy, nutritious (and tasty!) plant foods.

Go on to: Harming Animals Harms Humans, part 3: The Environment
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