Part of the problem is that governments of developing nations choose animal agriculture over plant crops because selling livestock food to wealthier nations is more profitable than growing fruits, vegetables and grains that could feed local people.
Since far more land is needed to raise food animals than to grow plant crops, less land is available for local farmers to grow their own food. If crops grown for livestock production were instead used for human consumption, over 10 times more people could be fed.
In North America, livestock consumes over 80% of the corn and over 95% of the oats grown. And while one acre of land produces 165 pounds of beef, that same acre can produce approximately 20,000 pounds of potatoes.
According to the Humane Society of the United States, if people reduced their meat intake by just 10%, there would be 12 million more tons of grain available each year. This reduction would be enough to feed the world’s hungry.
- acres of U.S. land producing hay for livestock: 56 million
- acres of U.S. land producing vegetables for humans: 4 million
- amount of land needed to feed a pure vegetarian for a year: 1/6 of an acre
- amount of land needed to feed a meat-eater for a year: 3 1/4 acres (or about 20 times as much)
"It now seems plain that [a vegan diet] is the only ethical response to what is arguably the world's most urgent social justice issue." - The Guardian