Animal Aid

Meat Causes World Hunger

Posted 4 March 2008

The truth can no longer be dodged. Livestock farming gobbles up agricultural land, water and energy that could far more efficiently be devoted to growing food for people to eat directly. Meat, therefore, is a rich person's food and those who consume it - whether in India, Denmark or England - cause malnourishment and death among the world's poorest people.

When Animal Aid launched the first Veggie Month 15 years ago (the 2008 celebration begins March 1), hard evidence as to the impact of meat-eating on the lives of impoverished people was mainly confined to arcane journals. Today, the evidence showers down upon us like hailstones. Do we put up our umbrellas and disregard the signs or do we change direction?

The most recent storm warning was published in the Guardian this week. The UN's World Food Programme said that the rising price of grain means it no longer has enough money to keep global malnourishment at bay this year. Millions more people face starvation. Rising commodity prices have already caused food riots in Morocco, Yemen, Mexico, Senegal and elsewhere.

While a switch in use of agricultural land from producing food to producing biofuels is a major cause of the grain price rises, the biggest factor is the accelerating demand for meat in increasingly prosperous countries such as China and India.

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