[OpEdNews - comments at full story link]
Approximately 854 million people do not have enough to eat.
Thirty-three countries are facing food crises, according to the World Bank, and food riots have recently erupted in Egypt, Haiti, Yemen, Malaysia and other poor nations. This is hard for most Americans to comprehend. The closest many of us will ever come to a food riot is when someone cuts in line for more nachos and hot dogs at the baseball-stadium concession stand.
But we need look no further than our own shores to figure out what's causing food crises overseas: While millions of people are starving, a billion more--many of them Americans--are overweight. Our addiction to meat is largely to blame for both problems.
When world leaders met at the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization summit in Rome earlier this month, they vowed to halve global hunger by 2015 and discussed strategies to boost agricultural production, which must be doubled by 2030 to meet rising demands. But no one proposed a convincing way to alleviate world hunger.
... It takes 3 1/4 acres of land to produce food for a meat-eater; food for a vegan--someone who eats no animal products, including dairy and eggs--can be produced on just 1/6 acre of land. Vegfam, a U.K.-based charity that funds sustainable plant-food projects, estimates that a 10-acre farm can support 60 people by growing soy, 24 people by growing wheat or 10 people by growing corn--but only two by raising cattle. While some are blaming developing nations like China and India for creating food shortages, Americans should look in the mirror before pointing fingers. According to The New York Times, Americans eat twice as much meat as the average person worldwide.
Chris Holbein is a senior projects coordinator for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' (PETA) vegan campaign, 501 Front St., Norfolk, VA 23510; www.GoVeg.com .