Vegetarian Issues & Etc
(Addicted to meat)
Meat Generates Global Heat
Sep 18, 2008 By Devinder Sharma
Devinder Sharma's ZSpace Page / ZSpace
Science, economics and politics have a strong correlation. Whether it is the continuing debate on international trade or the growing heat on global warming, it is invariably politics that determines the final agenda.
So when R K Pachauri, chief of the Nobel prize winning UN Climate Change panel, appealed for a one day abstinence in a week from eating meat, it was expected to stir a hornet's nest or should I say was expected to literally shake up the barn. And it did. Beef farmers in the United States and Europe have already launched a stinging attack. In the days to come I wouldn't be surprised if the debate gets still murkier with cow dung being splashed all around.
I am not sure whether Dr Pachauri anticipated this. But the fact remains that whenever someone has dared to challenge the western lifestyle, there has been a quick and sharp retaliation. No wonder, in the entire debate on climate change, what is being tossed around is that global warming will bring massive destruction to the developing world - more floods, more droughts and freak storms in a devastating fury. You don't hear of what it entails for the rich and industrialised countries
The underlying message therefore is loud and clear. The developing countries must protect and help in safeguarding the environment. Since the poor are going to be the worst sufferers, they must behave. And that makes me wonder when were the developing countries not suffering from incessant rains, floods and drought? Why has the world suddenly become so benevolent towards the poor? I will revert to the politics behind the climate change debate sometimes later, but first let us take a look at the bovine controversy.
Dr Pachauri quotes the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) to say that meat production accounts for nearly 18 per cent of all human-induced greenhouse gas emissions, expected to double by the year 2050. The UK National Beef Association has debunked this analysis saying that the 18 per cent figure has since been discredited. The analysis, it says was based on the clearing of the Amazon forests for rearing cattle and that too took the peak year figure of 26,000sq kms for rainforests cleared in 2004.
Whether the greenhouse gas emissions are 18 per cent or 15 per cent or less, the fact remains that about 70 per cent of the foodgrains produced in America are fed to cows and pigs for meat purposes. No wonder, meat industry proliferates in the US, and to a larger extent in other 30 rich and industrialised countries forming the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). To ensure that animals grow faster, cows and pigs are routinely fed with foodgrains and other nutrient feeds and not allowed to graze. In fact, the belief is that allowing cattle to graze saps their energy levels. And so the meat factories conserve and preserve the animal energy by keeping these animals confined to small enclosures.
An average American consumes about 125 kg of meat, including 46 kg of poultry meat. While the Indians are still lagging behind, the Chinese are fast catching up with the American lifestyle. The Chinese on an average consume about 70 kg of meat, inclusive of 8.7 kg of poultry meat every year. The Indian average is around 3.5 kg of meat, much of it (2.1 kg) coming from poultry. If you put all this together, the Chinese are the biggest meat eaters, and for obvious reasons devouring close to 100,000,000 tonnes every year. America is not far behind, consuming about 35,000,000 tonnes of meat in a year. India is trailing far behind with not more than 3 million tonnes of annual meat consumption.
The methane gas released by the meat animals is considered to be 23 times more potent as a climate change agent than carbon dioxide. Multiply this with 55,000 million cattle that are reared the world over for meat consumption, and you will have a fair idea of how much additional heat is being generated. Imagine if China and America alone were to reduce its meat consumption by just ten per cent every year, wouldn't the world's environment be much cleaner and cooler?
And this brings me to another aspect of the global warming debate. Cultivation of rice too is blamed for releasing methane into the environment. With 97 per cent of world's rice grown in Asia, the Asian rice paddies are being accused of adding on to global warming and also sucking the land dry. Since 5000 litres of water is required to produce one kilo of rice, Asian farmers are blamed for the falling groundwater levels. In the recent past, there have been suggestions to reduce the rice plantings so as to not only conserve water but also to save the world from warming up.
Rice cultivation is linked to billions of livelihoods and rice also happens to be the major staple food for the world. On the other hand, livestock farming for meat consumption is certainly not something that cannot be done away with. After all, meat is not a staple food and it is also an inefficient way of converting protein from foodgrains. In any case, as much as 16 kg of grains is required to produce one kilo of beef.
Still more devastating is the water requirement for meat consumption. Hold your breath, 70,000 litres of water is required to produce one kilo of beef. Isn't it ironical that while the world blames the small farmers in Asia for sucking the planet dry, no one seems to be perturbed at the way the meat factories are guzzling water. Why blame the Asian paddies, and not beef production? You guessed it right, because it affects the western lifestyle.
Charity they say begins at home. It is high time the moral guardians of the world begin to look inwards, and see what changes they need to make so that the world becomes a safe and a cool place for everyone. It is widely accepted that the western lifestyle leaves a devastating ecological footprint on the planet. Unless the western lifestyle undergoes a drastic change the world will continue to warm up. It is no use blaming the poor. The fault lies with the rich and the beautiful. Dr Pachauri's suggestion therefore must be followed in true letter and spirit.
Information in statistical research comes from the book Natures First Law - the Raw Food Diet by Arlin - Dini - Wolfe.
and Livestock** 1. Human population of the
19. Historic cause of demise of many great civilizations: Topsoil depletion
20. Percentage of original
23. Amount of U.S forest which has been cleared to create cropland to produce
a meat-centered diet: 260 million acres (1.05 million square kilometers) 24.
How often an acre (4,047 square meters) of
26. A driving force behind the destruction of the tropical rainforests:
American meat habit 27. Amount of meat imported annually by
User of more than half of all water used for all purposes in the
Length of time worldıs petroleum reserves would last (with current
technologies) if all human beings ate meat-centered diet: 13 years 38. Length
of time worldıs petroleum reserves would last (with current technologies) if
all human beings ate vegetarian diet: 260 years 39. Principal reason for
Production of excrement by total
frequently a heart attack strikes in the
Dairy, and Egg Industries**
Meat, dairy and egg industries claim there is no reason to be concerned about
your blood cholesterol as long as it is: ³normal² 68. Risk of dying of a
disease caused by clogged arteries (atherosclerosis) if your blood cholesterol
is ³normal²: over 50% 69. Risk of dying of a disease caused by clogged
arteries (atherosclerosis) if you do not consume saturated fat and
cholesterol: 5% 70. Leading sources of saturated fat and cholesterol in
American diets: Meat, dairy products, and eggs 71. World populations with high
meat intakes who do not have correspondingly high rates of colon cancer: none
72. World populations with low meat intakes who do not have correspondingly
low rates of colon cancer: none 73. Increased risk of breast cancer for women
who eat meat daily compared to women who eat meat less than once a week: 4
times higher 74. Egg Boardıs advertising slogan: ³The incredible, edible
egg.² 75. Increased risk of breast cancer for women who eat eggs daily
compared to women who eat eggs less than once a week: 3 times higher 76. Milk
producerıs original advertising campaign slogan: ³Everyone needs milk.² 77.
What the Federal Trade Commission called the ³Everyone needs milk² slogan:
³False, misleading and deceptive.² 78. Milk producerıs revised campaign
slogans: ³Milk has something for everybody,² and ³Milk does a body good.²
79. Increased risk of breast cancer for women who eat butter and cheese 3 or
more times a week compared to women who eat these foods less than once a week:
3 times higher 80. Part of female chickenıs body that produces eggs: Ovaries
81. Increased risk of fatal ovarian cancer for women who eat eggs 3 or more
times a week compared to women who eat eggs less than once a week: 3 times
higher 82. Food males in the
live in a crazy time, when people who make food choices that are healthy and
compassionate are often considered weird, while people are considered normal
whose eating habits promote disease and are dependent on enormous suffering.²
-- John Robbins
Chlorinated hydrocarbon pesticide residues in the
our alarming misfortune that so primitive a science has armed itself with the
most modern terrible weapons, and that in turning them against the insects it
has also turned them against the Earth.² -- Rachel Carson
Treatment of Livestock**
Wingspan of average leghorn chicken: 26 inches (66 cm) 122. Space average
leghorn chicken is given in egg factories: 6 inches 15.3 cm) 123. Number of
700+ lb. (318+ kg) pigs confined to space the size of a twin bed in typical
factory farm: 3 124. Reason todayıs veal is so tender: Calves are never
allowed to take a single step. 125. Reason todayıs veal is whitish-pink:
Calves forced-fed on anemia producing diet 126. McDonaldıs brags: billions
and billions sold 127. McDonaldıs does not brag about: millions and millions
butchered 128. McDonaldıs clown, Ronald McDonald, tells children: Hamburgers
grow in hamburger patches and love to be eaten. 129. McDonaldıs clown, Ronald
McDonald, does not tell children: Hamburgers are ground up, cooked cows who
have had their throats slit by machetes or their brains bashed in with
sledgehammers. 130. Original actor to play Ronald McDonald: Jeff Juliano 131.
Diet now followed by Jeff Juliano: Vegetarian 132. Number of animals killed
for meat per hour in the
greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.²
Percentage of total antibiotics used in the
Only man to win Ironman Triathlon more than twice: Dave Scott (6 time winner)
145. Food choices of Dave Scott: Vegetarian 146. World record holder for 1 day
triathlon (Swim 4.8 miles (7.7 km), cycle 185 miles (298 km), run 52.5 miles
(84.5 km)): Sixto Lenares 147. Food choices of Sixto Lenares: Strict
vegetarian 148. Athlete who most totally dominated Olympic sport in track and
field history: Edwin Moses (undefeated in 8 years, 400 meter hurdles) 149.
Food choices of Edwin Moses: Vegetarian 150. Other notable vegetarian
athletes: * Stan Price (world record bench-press) * Carl Lewis (worldıs
fastest man, 8 Olympic gold medals, 7 world records) * Robert Sweetgall (worldıs
premier ultra-distance walker) * Paavo Nurmi (20 world records in distance
running, 9 Olympic medals) * Bill Pickering (world record - swimming English
Channel) * Murray Rose (world records - swimming 400 and 1500 meter freestyles
* Andreas Cahling (winner - Mr. International body-building championships) *
Roy Hilligan (winner - Mr. America body-building championships) * Pierro Verot
(world record for downhill endurance skiing) * Estelle Gray and Cheryl Merek
(world record for cross-country tandem cycling) * James and Jonathan deDonato
(world record for distance butterfly stroke swimming) * Ridgely Abele (winner
of 8 national championships in Karate, including U.S. Karate Association World
Championships) * Peter Burwash (highest fitness index of any athlete in
Canada) * Alan Jones (world record for continuous sit-ups - 17,003) 151. Raw-foodist
athletes: * George Allen (held the world record for walking form Landıs End
in Cornwall to John OıGroats at northern tip of Scotland; he lives mostly on
raw vegetables). * Barbara Moore (broke George Allenıs walking record). *
Fausto Coppi and Luis Ocana (world-renowned cyclists trained on raw-foods by
French herbalist Maurice Messegue). * Dick Gregory (In 1974 he ran 900 miles
(1450 kilometers) exclusively on fruit juice; a one-time American comedian, he
is now a raw-food nutritionist who often works in the sport of boxing -- he
has worked with boxers such as heavyweight champion Riddick Bowe.) * Joe
"The Atom" Greenstein (American strongman who enjoyed wide
popularity in the 1930s.)