Friday, February 1, 2008

things are horribly out of balance

first picture: PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - It was lunchtime in one of Haiti's worst slums and Charlene Dumas was eating mud read the full report here
and then there is this excerpt from a recent NY Times Article: full article here"Rethinking the Meat-Guzzler"

To put the energy-using demand of meat production into easy-to-understand terms, if Americans were to reduce meat consumption by just 20 percent it would be as if we all switched from a standard sedan to the ultra-efficient Prius.
Grain, meat and even energy are roped together in a way that could have dire results. More meat means a corresponding increase in demand for feed, especially corn and soy, which some experts say will contribute to higher prices.
This will be inconvenient for citizens of wealthier nations, but it could have tragic consequences for those of poorer ones, especially if higher prices for feed divert production away from food crops. The demand for ethanol is already pushing up prices, and explains, in part, the 40 percent rise last year in the food price index calculated by the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization.

Though some 800 million people on the planet now suffer from hunger or malnutrition, the majority of corn and soy grown in the world feeds cattle, pigs and chickens. This despite the inherent inefficiencies: about two to five times more grain is required to produce the same amount of calories through livestock as through direct grain consumption"

I already knew that meat production is an inefficient way to get protein in terms of the resources used to obtain it, but this article highlights just how damaging it is on so many levels.

Am I saying that because I eat less meat that means I think the poor people will not have to eat mud? No, not directly and not immediately; I don't believe that anything is going to change for poor people in my lifetime. But all things and beings (animal and human) ARE connected, and if enough people made many small changes the chain of existence which connects us all could be linking more people who can live without hunger and with dignity. Of course, for me even if there was not a huge hidden cost to eating large quantities of meat, it's an easy choice because it makes me feel bad or downright ill. I feel SO much better eating very small amounts of meat (mostly pork as a seasoning) and mostly vegetable, fruits, some dairy products, like yogurt, so that makes me not a particularly noble character for eating very little factory farmed meat; for me it's no sacrifice.

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