Article: The World's Problems On A Plate

A daily comment in the Guardian from Jeremy Rifkin (Bio) »

The world’s problems on a plate

Meat production is making the rich ill and the poor hungry.

In June, agricultural ministers from around the world will gather in Rome for the World Food Summit. The meeting will focus on how to create a sustainable approach to development and get food in the mouths of the nearly 1 billion who are currently undernourished. More interesting than the agenda, however, will be the menu. At both the official dinners and at NGO gatherings, expect to see the consumption of large quantities of meat. And herein lies the contradiction.

Hundreds of millions of people are going hungry all over the world because much of the arable land is being used to grow feed grain for animals rather than for people. Cattle are among the most inefficient converters of feed. In the US, 157 million metric tons of cereal, legumes and vegetable protein suitable for human use is fed to livestock to produce 28 million metric tons of animal protein for annual human consumption….


In his summary at the end of the article he concludes »

…The irony of the present system is that millions of wealthy consumers in the first world are dying from diseases of affluence (heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, cancer) brought on by gorging on fatty grain-fed meats, while the poor in the third world are dying of diseases of poverty brought on by the denial of access to land to grow food grain for their families. We are long overdue for a global discussion on how best to promote a diversified, high-protein, vegetarian diet for the human race.

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