FOOD SECURITY – World grain production plateauing – Time to Go Vegan


According to an article on, for the last decade and a half, a mysterious and worrisome trend has emerged in the farming world that has sent farmers, scientists and policy makers looking for answers. Crop yields – how much of a crop is harvested per hectare – for some of the world’s major grains like rice, wheat and corn have gone from increasing year after year to plateauing in many of the world’s biggest grain producers. GROWING ARTIFICIAL DEMAND The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) predicted in 2009 that a growing and increasingly affluent population will require 70 percent more food by 2050, but Ken Cassman, Robert B. Daughtery, professor of agronomy at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, says, “If we meet demand by expanding agriculture, that’s the worst thing you can do for climate change and biodiversity.” The effects of upping grain production by expansion in rainforests and on prairies has devastated the world eco-system. What most people don’t realize, however, is that much of this grain expansion is fuelled by the need to feed grain-fed animals on feedlots. “If all the grain currently fed to livestock in the United States were consumed directly by people, the number of people who could be fed would be nearly 800 million,” claims David Pimentel, professor of ecology in Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Today, the 7 billion livestock animals in the United States consume five times as much grain as is consumed directly by the entire American population. To demonstrate how grossly inefficient this model is, according to the article quoted above, each year an estimated 41 million tons of plant protein is fed to U.S. livestock to produce a scanty 7 million tons of animal protein for human consumption. That is like paying $6 for a $1 return on […]

This holiday season, donate trees not animals

By HEATHER FARAID DRENNAN / People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals Source: The Bellingham Herald With the holidays fast approaching, most of us are receiving solicitations for a variety of charitable programs, some good, some not so good. I would include animal-donation programs – in which a cow or a goat or some other animal is given to an impoverished family overseas – in the latter category. When I was about 10 years old, my mother volunteered to milk goats at a farm near our home in Massachusetts. It was a noble sentiment in theory, but in practice it involved weekly ordeals with feisty, intelligent goats, each of whom had her own plan of resistance when it came to getting them into the milking pen. Once a goat was in the pen, it was my job to try to distract the animal so that my mother could get the milking done without getting kicked or having the pail kicked over, spilling all her hard-fought milk on the barn floor. I imagine her reaction would not have been one of gratitude had someone presented her with a “full-time” goat. But daily tussles with goats are the least of the problems that impoverished families have to face when animal-donation programs foist animals upon them. Organizations that send animals to families may mean well, but they do not provide a sustainable solution for global hunger. World Land Trust called these programs “environmentally unsound and economically disastrous.” Grazing animals often cause topsoil runoff and land degradation, which can exacerbate the problems of drought-prone areas, and growing plants for animal consumption is a much more inefficient use of resources than growing plants for people to eat directly. For families on the receiving end of animal-donation programs, the animal is just another mouth to feed. […]