Today’s world is different that we had through all the time before. Since the 2nd world war population of our planet is increasing dramatically with 2.5 billion people in 1950 and almost 7,6 billion in 2017(“Total Population Of The World By Decade, 1950–2050” 2018).
Resources are scarce, however the food which we are suppling on every day base can be
To reduce the influence of man on the environment, the simplest and cheapest way that everyone can do is eat less meat, and it is better to abandon it altogether. Most of the portions of beef or chicken that fall on our plate are unusually wasteful, devouring the earth and energy, the system of agriculture that cut down forests that polluted the oceans, rivers, seas, and air depending on oil and coal, and bearing a significant share of the responsibility for changing the climate. The UN, scientists, economists, and politicians define the modern mode of cattle breeding as one of the main reasons for the multitude of interrelated problems of mankind and environmental problems. On Earth, 795 million people do not have enough food and dying because of the starvation, and this tendency in the next 50 years will increase to 2 billion, so there is an urgent need to revise our relationship with animals. (Simmons 2018)
Today, mankind eats about 230 tons of animals per year. This is twice as much as 30 years ago. The main cultivated animals are chickens, cows, sheep, and pigs. Cattle breeding requires large quantities of food and water, and the products of these animals emit methane and other greenhouse gases and represent literally mountains of waste.
How much does meat-eating outweigh the ecological systems of the planet; there are many answers to this question, but the data are inaccurate and controversial. In 2006, the UN calculated that climate change due to cattle rancher for meat is about 18% of the global figure – more than cars, airplanes and all other modes combined. (“UN News – Rearing Cattle Produces More Greenhouse Gases Than Driving Cars, UN Report Warns” 2006)
The authors of the report “The Long Shadow of Livestock” have calculated not only the amount of methane that is released by individuals of cattle but also the number of gases released from their manure; fuel that is burned when their carcasses are transported to markets and shops (often thousands of miles away); electricity required for cooling meat; gas used for cooking; The energy needed to grow and harvest crops that animals eat; and even the amount of water necessary to cattle.(“UN News – Rearing Cattle Produces More Greenhouse Gases Than Driving Cars, UN Report Warns” 2006)
The increase in the number of people on the planet is more than 3 billion, the transition in developing countries to meat consumption in larger quantities than before, the doubling of global meat consumption over 40 years – these are the main issues of all food crises for the future. The amount of food that is growing not only limited to the spaces of free land. It should not be forgotten that meat eaters require much more land than vegetarians. Indian middle income family, who eat rice, beans, vegetables, and fruits, can live on 1 acre of land or less, while an average American who consumes about 270 kilograms of meat a year needs more land 20 times.
Almost 30% of the ice-free areas of the planet’s surface are currently used in livestock breeding, or for growing food for animals. 1 billion people starve every day, but livestock eats most of the world’s food crops. A study by Cornell University in 1997 showed that about 13 million hectares of land in the US was used for growing vegetables, rice, fruits, potatoes, and beans, while 302 million were used for livestock breeding. (“U.S. Could Feed 800 Million People With Grain That Livestock Eat, Cornell Ecologist Advises Animal Scientists | Cornell Chronicle” 2018) The problem is that animals are inefficient converters of food into meat. For the production of 1 kg of chicken, about 3.4 kg of food is required, whereas, for production of 1 kg of pork, 8.4 kg is needed.
Other scientists calculated that if the grain that goes to feed animals in Western countries could be spent directly on people, we could feed at least twice as many people – or even more than now.
Worse still, our desire to eat animals has led to overloading of fragile lands, large-scale soil erosion, and desertification. Grazing huge livestock all over the world: from the lowlands of southern England to the uplands of Ethiopia and the mountains of Nepal, deprives the soil of fertility and provokes floods.
But the figures should be treated with caution. Manure fertilises the soil, and millions of animals live on small areas of land, which are completely unsuitable for crops.
But before rushing to conclusions and hindering all livestock breeding in one heap, let us consider this situation: in Western countries, animals are grown in such a way as to obtain as much meat as possible from them in the shortest possible time, after which they are slaughtered. But in poorer regions – especially in arid regions, cattle occupy a central place in human life and culture and are often the only source of food and income for many millions of pastoralists. The continuous movement of these nomadic shepherds across vast territories is the basis for the economies of many African countries, and a new large-scale study by the International Institute for Environment and Development suggests that this is a much more environmentally efficient method of cattle breeding than that used in Australia or the United States.
Agriculture, which uses 70% of the water available to people, is already in direct competition for water with cities. But as demand for meat increases, the availability of crops and drinking water will decrease. Rich, but water-poor countries such as Saudi Arabia, Libya, the countries of the Persian Gulf and South Africa say it makes sense to grow food in poorer countries to conserve their own water resources and they are currently buying or leasing millions of hectares of land in Ethiopia and other countries to provide themselves with food.(“Gulf Countries Look To Farm Abroad As Aquifer Dries Up” 2018)
What we eat affects not only our physical well-being but also affects global land use, methods of farming, animal husbandry, water consumption, the expansion of transport networks and the level of CO2 emissions. The most powerful stimulus for the industrialisation of agriculture is not the “thirst for the profit of international agrarian capital”, but our excessiveness in the consumption of meat and dairy products. Buying more and more poultry, beef, salami, yogurt and milkshakes in supermarkets, we are giving impetus to mass livestock. Accordingly, more and more crops are being fed. Prices for basic foodstuffs are rising. Under such pressure, there is an ever-increasing intensification of agriculture. Whoever comes to the resentment of the terrible cowsheds, designed for tens of thousands of animals, who bitterly regrets that the cows, pigs, chickens turned into machines, will have to revise their diet and eat less meat, more cereals, nuts, fresh vegetables, fruits. Experience shows that this is not so scary. Reduction of meat consumption does not mean refusal of gastronomic delights, especially if we add here the benefits of vegetarianism. Speech, in this case, is not about a ban, but rather about another way to have fun with food. The global demand for food will grow, the role of agricultural raw materials in industry and energy will become increasingly important, requirements for agriculture, loads on soils, water consumption will increase. Therefore, our individual behaviour is only part of the solution. Without political reforms and scientific innovations, we will not cope with it. But no matter how much our habits affect the overall picture, it is always advisable to do so as not to harm a living being. Fair-trade and bio, ethical and adequate consumption and sustainable investment of funds are needed. They are harbingers of a new economy. The more people think about the consequences of their actions, the more the desired effect will be.
“Total Population Of The World By Decade, 1950–2050”. 2018. Infoplease. https://www.infoplease.com/world/population-statistics/total-population-world-decade-1950-2050.
Simmons, Ann. 2018. “On World Hunger Day, A Look At Why So Many People Don’t Get Enough Food”. Latimes.Com. http://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-global-world-hunger-day-20170528-story.html.
“UN News – Rearing Cattle Produces More Greenhouse Gases Than Driving Cars, UN Report Warns”. 2006. UN News Service Section. http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=20772#.WmDkqSPGnR0.
“U.S. Could Feed 800 Million People With Grain That Livestock Eat, Cornell Ecologist Advises Animal Scientists | Cornell Chronicle”. 2018. News.Cornell.Edu. http://news.cornell.edu/stories/1997/08/us-could-feed-800-million-people-grain-livestock-eat.
“Gulf Countries Look To Farm Abroad As Aquifer Dries Up”. 2018. The Plate. http://theplate.nationalgeographic.com/2016/04/26/gulf-countries-look-to-farm-abroad-as-aquifer-dries-up/.