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Articol Guardian (UK) - "If you care about hunger, eat less meat."

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  • alina ovesea
    http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2008/04/15/the-pleasures-of-the-flesh/ The Pleasures Of The Flesh Posted April 15, 2008 If you care about hunger, eat less
    Message 1 of 37 , Apr 30 4:12 AM
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      The Pleasures Of The Flesh
      Posted April 15, 2008
      If you care about hunger, eat less meat.

      By George Monbiot. Published in the Guardian 15th
      April 2008

      Never mind the economic crisis. Focus for a moment on
      a more urgent threat: the great food recession which
      is sweeping the world faster than the credit crunch.

      You have probably seen the figures by now: the price
      of rice has risen by three-quarters in the past year,
      that of wheat by 130%(1). There are food crises in 37
      countries. One hundred million people, according to
      the World Bank, could be pushed into deeper poverty by
      the high prices(2). But I bet you have missed the most
      telling statistic. At 2.1bn tonnes, last year’s global
      grain harvest broke all records(3). It beat the
      previous year’s by almost 5%. The crisis, in other
      words, has begun before world food supplies are hit by
      climate change. If hunger can strike now, what will
      happen if harvests decline?

      There is plenty of food. It is just not reaching human
      stomachs. Of the 2.13bn tonnes likely to be consumed
      this year, only 1.01bn, according to the UN’s Food and
      Agriculture Organisation (FAO), will feed people(4).

      I am sorely tempted to write another column about
      biofuels. From this morning all sellers of transport
      fuel in the United Kingdom will be obliged to mix it
      with ethanol or biodiesel made from crops. The World
      Bank points out that “the grain required to fill the
      tank of a sports utility vehicle with ethanol … could
      feed one person for a year”(5). Last year global
      stockpiles of cereals declined by around 53m
      tonnes(6); this gives you a rough idea of the size of
      the hunger gap. The production of biofuels this year
      will consume almost 100m tonnes(7), which suggests
      that they are directly responsible for the current
      crisis. In the Guardian yesterday the transport
      secretary Ruth Kelly promised that “if we need to
      adjust policy in the light of new evidence, we
      will.”(8) What new evidence does she require? In the
      midst of a global humanitarian crisis, we have just
      become legally obliged to use food as fuel. It is a
      crime against humanity in which every driver in this
      country has been forced to participate.

      But I have been saying this for four years and I am
      boring myself. Of course we must demand that our
      governments scrap the rules which turn grain into the
      fastest food of all. But there is a bigger reason for
      global hunger, which is attracting less attention only
      because it has been there for longer. While 100m
      tonnes of food will be diverted this year to feed
      cars, 760m tonnes will be snatched from the mouths of
      humans to feed animals(9). This could cover the global
      food deficit 14 times. If you care about hunger, eat
      less meat.

      While meat consumption is booming in Asia and Latin
      America, in the United Kingdom it has scarcely changed
      since the government started gathering data in 1974.
      At just over 1kg per person per week(10), it’s still
      about 40% above the global average(11), though less
      than half the amount consumed in the United
      States(12). We eat less beef and more chicken than we
      did 30 years ago, which means a smaller total impact.
      Beef cattle eat about 8kg of grain or meal for every
      kilogramme of flesh they produce; a kilogramme of
      chicken needs just 2kg of feed. Even so, our
      consumption rate is plainly unsustainable.

      In his magazine The Land, Simon Fairlie has updated
      the figures produced 30 years ago in Kenneth
      Mellanby’s book Can Britain Feed Itself? Fairlie found
      that a vegan diet grown by means of conventional
      agriculture would require only 3m hectares of arable
      land (around half the current total)(13). Even if we
      reduced our consumption of meat by half, a mixed
      farming system would need 4.4m hectares of arable
      fields and 6.4 million hectares of pasture. A vegan
      Britain could make a massive contribution to global
      food stocks.

      But I cannot advocate a diet I am incapable of
      following. I tried it for about 18 months, lost two
      stone, went as white as bone and felt that I was
      losing my mind. I know a few healthy-looking vegans
      and I admire them immensely. But after almost every
      talk I give, I am pestered by swarms of vegans
      demanding that I adopt their lifestyle. I cannot help
      noticing that in most cases their skin has turned a
      fascinating pearl grey.

      What level of meat-eating would be sustainable? One
      approach is to work out how great a cut would be
      needed to accommodate the growth in human numbers. The
      UN expects the population to rise to 9bn by 2050.
      These extra people will require another 325m tonnes of
      grain(14). Let us assume, perhaps generously, that
      politicians like Ms Kelly are able to “adjust policy
      in the light of new evidence” and stop turning food
      into fuel. Let us pretend that improvements in plant
      breeding can keep pace with the deficits caused by
      climate change. We would need to find an extra 225m
      tonnes of grain. This leaves 531m tonnes for livestock
      production, which suggests a sustainable consumption
      level for meat and milk some 30% below the current
      world rate. This means 420g of meat per person per
      week, or about 40% of the UK’s average consumption.

      This estimate is complicated by several factors. If we
      eat less meat we must eat more plant protein, which
      means taking more land away from animals. On the other
      hand, some livestock is raised on pasture, so it
      doesn’t contribute to the grain deficit. Simon Fairlie
      estimates that if animals were kept only on land
      that’s unsuitable for arable farming, and given scraps
      and waste from food processing, the world could
      produce between a third and two thirds of its current
      milk and meat supply(15). But this system then runs
      into a different problem. The FAO calculates that
      animal keeping is responsible for 18% of greenhouse
      gas emissions. The environmental impacts are
      especially grave in places where livestock graze
      freely(16). The only reasonable answer to the question
      of how much meat we should eat is as little as
      possible. Let’s reserve it - as most societies have
      done until recently - for special occasions.

      For both environmental and humanitarian reasons, beef
      is out. Pigs and chickens feed more efficiently, but
      unless they are free range you encounter another
      ethical issue: the monstrous conditions in which they
      are kept. I would like to encourage people to start
      eating tilapia instead of meat. It’s a freshwater fish
      which can be raised entirely on vegetable matter and
      has the best conversion efficiency - about 1.6kg of
      feed for 1kg of meat - of any farmed animal(17). Until
      meat can be grown in flasks, this is about as close as
      we are likely to come to sustainable flesh-eating.

      Re-reading this article, I see that there is something
      surreal about it. While half the world wonders whether
      it will eat at all, I am pondering which of our
      endless choices we should take. Here the price of food
      barely registers. Our shops are better stocked than
      ever before. We perceive the global food crisis dimly,
      if at all. It is hard to understand how two such
      different food economies could occupy the same planet,
      until you realise that they feed off each other.



      1. Eg http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/7284196.stm

      2. World Bank, 14th April 2008. Food Price Crisis
      Imperils 100 Million in Poor Countries, Zoellick Says.
      Press release.

      3. Food and Agriculture Organisation, April 2008. Crop
      Prospects and Food Situation.

      4. ibid.

      5. World Bank, 2008. Biofuels: The Promise and the

      6. Gerrit Buntrock, 6th December 2007. Cheap no more.
      The Economist.

      7. Food and Agriculture Organisation, April 2008,

      8. Ruth Kelly, 14th April 2008. Biofuels: a blueprint
      for the future? The Guardian.

      9. Food and Agriculture Organisation, April 2008,

      10. The British government gives a total meat purchase
      figure of 1042g/person/week for 2006.

      11. There’s a discussion of global average figures
      here: http://envirostats.info/2007/09/18/0406/

      12. See Food and Agriculture Organisation, 2006.
      Livestock’s Long Shadow. Figure 1.4, p9.

      13. Simon Fairlie, Winter 2007-8. Can Britain Feed
      Itself? The Land.

      14. Based on the current population of 6.8bn consuming
      1006mt of grain.

      15. Simon Fairlie, forthcoming. Default livestock
      farming. The Land, Summer 2008.

      16. Food and Agriculture Organisation, 2006.
      Livestock’s Long Shadow.

      17. The FAO (ibid) gives 1.6-1.8. On April 12th, I
      spoke to Francis Murray of the Institute of
      Aquaculture, University of Stirling, who suggested

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    • ruxi
      ps: si eu stiu personal o gramada de veterinari ve*gani. nu e iesit din comun pt. veterinari sa fie vegetarieni (ba chiar dimpotriva). un exemplu de astfel de
      Message 37 of 37 , May 5, 2008
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        ps: si eu stiu personal o gramada de veterinari
        ve*gani. nu e iesit din comun pt. veterinari sa fie
        vegetarieni (ba chiar dimpotriva). un exemplu de
        astfel de veterinar, povestind despre activitatea ei:


        "Armaiti May, DVM is an animal rights advocate and
        veterinarian currently practicing in Southern
        California. She became a vegan and activist as a
        student at UC Berkeley. An active officer in the
        campus advocacy group, Cal Vegetarians, she helped put
        on several vegan outreach and food giveaways. As a
        student at UC Davis, Armaiti helped coordinate a
        surgery "wetlab" training for fellow vet students as a
        humane alternative to the school's terminal surgeries.
        During vet school she volunteered with Rural Area
        Veterinary Services to provide free care and
        sterilization surgeries to dogs, cats, and horses in
        economically disadvantaged communities."

        website-ul ei: http://www.drmayvethousecalls.com/


        --- simona constantinescu <simonel_gm@...>

        > e uite ca n am auzit pana acum de nici un veterinar
        > vegetarian, ba dimpotriva. si despre comparatia cu
        > medicii umani, prefer sa fiu in postura in care sa
        > mananc lactate si vreo 100g de carne la 2-3 zile
        > decat sa nenorocesc pacientii. cred ca asta suna cam
        > dur dar asta e. lumea in care traim este destul de
        > dura si complicata si solicitanta. veterinarii sunt
        > oarecum pregatiti pentru asta prin pregatirea pe
        > care o primesc, cel putin pe unii ii intareste
        > foarte tare chestia asta, in sensul pozitiv nu acela
        > de "criminali", in sensul de a lua deciziile
        > potrivite si a nu lesina la prima picatura de sange
        > p care o vad.
        > ma rog, exista multe chestii de spus dar stiu ca
        > nu va vor conveni asa ca ma voi opri aici de data
        > aceasta.
        > in legatura cu focile, exista undeva pe net o
        > petitie de semnat, stiu ca am primit-o si eu mai
        > demult si am dat mai departe (uite ca nu sunt chiar
        > asa un monstru). daca o gasesc vi-o trimit
        > stars lover <stars_lover11@...> wrote:
        > Buna, Simona,
        > Sincer si mie mi se pare descalificant ca cineva a
        > zis ca nu esti om si imi pare rau ca s-a ajuns la
        > asemenea ton al discutiilor. Se dovedeste pt. a
        > infinita oara ca un stil agresiv/defensiv ne taraste
        > intr-o spirala descendenta a resentimentelor si, mai
        > important, nu rezolva nimic.
        > Totusi, daca intotdeauna oamenii ar fi procedat
        > cum au fost obisnuiti, fara sa-si puna intrebari
        > daca e bine sau nu, "pentru ca asta e procedura",
        > lumea nu ar fi progresat cu nimic (*moral*,
        > tehnologic etc.).
        > Ideea de veterinar care consuma carne ma face sa
        > mi se "strapezeasca" sufletul, e ca si cum as auzi
        > de medic uman care consuma oameni . Iti impartasesc
        > ce simt eu, nu incerc sa te trag de urechi sau ceva
        > de genul.
        > Oameni care (isi) chinuie animalele stim toti ca
        > exista, mult prea multi. Si numai unul de ar fi, tot
        > ar fi mult prea mult. Dupa ce aud cate un caz, nu
        > mai sunt buna de nimic. Dar nici nu incerc sa evit
        > realitatea, ar fi infantil din partea mea.
        > Cristina
        > simona constantinescu <simonel_gm@...> wrote:
        > imi pare rau pt tine dar eu chiar ma
        > consider om, sunt medic veterinar si sunt mandra de
        > asta, am salvat cateva zeci de animale in cei cativa
        > ani de practica, recunosc ca mananc si carne si
        > probabil am si fost indirect cauza mortii lor. dar
        > macar compensez pe partea cealalta. ai fi uimit daca
        > ti as povesti cateva cazuri de oameni cu studii
        > superioare si de la care ai avea pretentii mai mari
        > poate decat de la mine, si care isi trateaza
        > animalele in mod absolut inuman. asa ca sa le zici
        > lor ca nu sunt oameni nu mie. exemplu concret:
        > farmacista si profesor universitar, soti, cu doi
        > ciobanesti germani, dintre care femela cu vreo zece
        > gauri cam cat o moneda de 10 bani pe toata spinarea,
        > din cauza ca avea o incontinenta urinara si mustele
        > au gasit mediul perfect de dezvoltare pe spinarea
        > ei, au depus oua care s-au facut larve si au
        > gaurit-o. farmacista nu auzise in viata ei de eter
        > iodoformat care indeparta viermii de pe caine.
        > cateaua era asa de cel putin o saptamana, si
        > doar cand a inceput sa miroasa a apelat la
        > veterinar.
        > daca tot venim cu relatari, le am si eu pe ale
        > mele.
        > iar copilului meu sunt sigura ca i ar placea la
        > mine la servici. si am sa l cresc frumos si sanatos
        > cu carnitza si laptic.
        > sterilizare pe viu sau alte chestii din astea nu
        > am facut personal niciodata dar daca as fi pusa
        > intr-o situatie de asta as face o pentru ca asa este
        > procedura. ca si cu circumcizia de care vorbeam.
        > Dan, vorbesti cam agresiv si nu consider asta o
        > atitudine pozitiva si pacifista asa cum vreti voi sa
        > fiti. mai documenteaza te in domeniul medical si
        > dupa aceea mai vorbim.
        > Dan Costin <dalaran_0712@...> wrote:
        > Scuze ?! Imposibil. Nu pot sa-mi cer
        > scuze decat unui om sau unui animal, iar Simona nu
        > este nici om, nici animal. Un om nu poate sa
        > sterilizeze animale pe viu si sa spuna ca
        > anestezierea “nu este deloc economica”. Ceva,
        > acolo, in capul ei, s-a stricat atat de tare ca nu
        > mai poate fi considerat om.
        > Simono, hai sa-ti povestesc ceva, ca nu ma pot
        > abtine.
        > Un om isi aduce copilul la servici. Ii arata ce
        > lucreaza el in fiecare zi, bla bla. Ala mic poate se
        > plictiseste, poate ii place, ma rog. Tu nu poti
        > sa-ti duci copilul la servici, pt. ca daca vede cu
        > ce te ocupi, in noapte urmatoare ori fuge de acasa
        > ori te omoara in somn. Na, asta-i o alta deosebire
        > intre tine si un om.
        > Dan
        > --- On Fri, 5/2/08, Marius-Cristian Vasilescu
        > <marius@...> wrote:
        > From: Marius-Cristian Vasilescu <marius@...>
        > Subject: Re: [SVR-Group] Animalele de ferma
        > To: SVR-Group@yahoogroups.com
        > Date: Friday, May 2, 2008, 3:18 PM
        > In primul rand imi cer scuze pentru ca mesajul
        > lui Dan a ajuns pe grup.. L-am aprobat fara sa il
        > citesc.. Dan, nu ma asteptam la tine sa folosesti un
        > limbaj agresiv si chiar te rog sa iti cer scuze
        > Simonei.. Mi se pare ok ca persoanele care au alte
        > opinii sa si le exprime, pentru ca nimeni nu s-a
        > nascut stiind totul.. Daca Simona ar fi zis la misto
        > sau ar fi avut o atitudine rautacioasa intelegeam,
        > dar mie mi se pare ca a fost chiar sincera si nu
        > inteleg de ce vorbesti asa cu ea.. Chiar si eu la
        > inceput cand am devenit vegetarian si am auzit dupa
        > aceea de vegani mi se pareau extremisti, insa dupa
        > discutii lamuritoare si ceva cercetare din partea
        > mea mi-am dat seama cum stateau lucrurile..
        > Inca o data, va rog sa nu mai folositi un limbaj
        > agresiv.. Fiecare are voie sa isi exprime ideile
        > atata timp cat o face cu sinceritate si respect fata
        > de ceilalti.
        > Marius
        > Dan Costin wrote: Deci Simono, esti de
        > coma. Ce nu inteleg, este ce cauti tu pe un grup de
        > vegetarieni ... Facem parte din lumi fff diferite,
        > nu-ti dai seama ?
        > ---------------------------------
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        > Be a better friend, newshound, and know-it-all
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