Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Meat: A Waste of Resources

Non-vegans: please take this quiz about lifestyle and diet:

Vegans and vegetarians: I need your help. Please.

People don't seem to understand that meat production is inherently inefficient and thus is a waste of resources. They don't 'get' that a meat-centered diet can't possibly feed our growing population. They don't 'get' that a meat-centered diet is bad for the environment. Why don't they 'get it'? Help me explain it to them.

Related links:
Trophic levels: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trophic_...
First law of thermodynamics: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_la...
Meat production's environmental effects: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environm...

Specific quotes from above sources:

"Every time there is an exchange of energy between one trophic level and another, there is quite a significant loss due to the fundamental laws of thermodynamics. This means so many units of grass can only support a much smaller number of units of rabbits, who can only support a smaller group of bobcats, who can only support a smaller group of mountain lions. This is why trophic levels are usually portrayed as a pyramid, one that places grass on the bottom and mountain lions on top—the top is always much smaller than the bottom. Each level implies a loss of energy and efficiency and less life that can be supported by the sun."

"According to the USDA, growing crops for farm animals requires nearly half of the U.S. water supply and 80% of its agricultural land. Animals raised for food in the U.S. consume 90% of the soy crop, 80% of the corn crop, and 70% of its grain"

PS - I should be clear, when I said "genetically modified," I meant bred. These animals, such as the broiler chicken whose legs can barely hold its own weight, have been bred into existence, manipulated by humans, but not necessarily animals that were created in a laboratory, though those are likely on their way to your dinner table as we speak, too.

"Artificial insemination of farm animals is very common in today's agriculture industry in the developed world, especially for breeding dairy cattle (75% of all inseminations) and swine (up to 85% of all inseminations). It provides an economical means for a livestock breeder to improve their herds utilizing males having very desirable traits."
source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artifici...


1 comment:

  1. Hi Elaine,

    I too am stunned by this. I think a lot of people don't seem to be aware of it. The reason maybe because the perception of meat production to so far removed from killing animals that people just don't make those connections anymore.

    If slaughter houses had glass walls there would be a lot more vegetarians. Slaughter houses don't, and they are hidden away from public view. When the meat is presented in the supermarket it's artificially coloured, lit with special lighting to make it look more leaner, it's given a fancy name.. "mouth-watering... Lean... Juicy... " name that makes the consumer think it's good for them. Consumers don't see meat as meat.. they see something that's packaged and prepared - all the hard work is taken out of the process.

    I think I'm going off track now..