According to Cornell University Professors David Pimental and Marcia Pimental, it takes 13 kilograms (2.2 pounds) of grain and 30 kilograms of forage to produce one kilogram of beef; 21 kilograms of grain and 30 kilograms of forage to produce kilogram of lamb; 5.9 kilograms of grain to produce a kilogram of pork; 3.8 kilograms of grain to produce a kilogram of turkey; 2.3 kilograms of grain to produce a kilogram of chicken, and 11 kilograms of grain to produce one kilogram of eggs. Livestock in the United States consume 7 times as much grain as is consumed by the entire U.S. human population and that the grains fed to livestock could feed 840 million humans who had a plant-based diet. One kilogram of animal protein requires about 100 times more water than does 1 kilogram of grain protein. It takes between 20 and 100 gallons of water to produce most vegetables or fruit. The Pimental study says it takes more than 2000,000 liters of water to produce one kilogram of pasture-raised beef. The estimates of water required for a pound of beef go from 2,000 to 12,000 gallons; it takes about 110 gallons of water to produce a pound of wheat. Most estimates vary between 1000 to 2000 gallons of water to produce a gallon of milk.
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations states that
animal agriculture contributes more greenhouse gases, which are linked
directly to global warming, to the atmosphere than does burning fossil
fuel for transportation. According to Worldwatch Institute, animal
agriculture produces an estimated 51% of the worldwide total of
greenhouse gas emissions from human activity. Moreover, a significant
amount of fossil energy is required to yield an animal-based product.
The average fossil energy input for all animal protein sources is 25
kcal of fossil energy input to 1 kcal of animal protein produced, which
is more than 11 times greater than for grain
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In fact, "we find that doing a complete radical shift away from
grain-fed animals, and stop producing biofuels, that you can increase
calorie availability enough for 4 billion people," Emily Cassidy, a researcher at the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota, told NBC News.
and colleagues examined 41 major crops grown around the world, which
account for more than 90 percent of global crop production, to find out
how much food is being produced and how it is being used.
found that 36 percent of the calories produced are used for animal feed.
Of those, 12 percent wend their way to the human diet as meat and
animal products. Another 4 percent of human-edible calories are used to
Growing all those crops for direct human
consumption instead increases available food calories by up to 70
percent, Cassidy and colleagues report in the Aug. 1 issue of Environmental Research Letters.
those additional calories are translated to the number of people who
can be fed a 2,700-calorie-a-day diet, the team's math shows an
additional 4 billion people can be fed with food grown on existing
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If you reduce meat production and increase plant production you are creating a whole new set of problems.