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Is a Global Meat Addiction Fueling Famine?

18 July 2008

GLOBE - 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 says thye American Chronicle. "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." An article read.

"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."

According to the American Chronicle, 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.

Dr. Walt Willett, professor of medicine at Harvard University and author of Eat, Drink and Weigh Less, offers this simple solution: "If we changed the way we ate, modifying what we eat, we could practically end the global food crisis, since eating more crops and much less red meat … would free up resources to feed the world."

It would take just 40 million tons of food to eliminate the most extreme cases of world hunger. Yet a staggering 760 million tons of grain will be used to feed farmed animals this year (compared to 100 million tons used to produce fuel). Around 1.4 billion people could be fed with the grain and soybeans fed to U.S. cattle alone.

  • View the American Chronicle story by clicking here.
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