People should be encouraged to dump meat just as smokers are encouraged to give up tobacco, according to The Future of Food and Farming, a British report featuring contributions from 400 researchers around the world.
With the global population expected to jump from 6.8 billion to more than 9 billion by 2050, the report predicts that farmers will need to produce 70 percent more food while using the same amount of land. Since this will be extremely difficult—if not impossible—people will need to drastically reduce their meat consumption in order to stave off food shortages. This is because raising animals for food is grossly inefficient: Animals consume large quantities of food but produce comparatively small amounts of meat in return. More than 70 percent of the grain that we grow in the U.S. is fed to farmed animals.
The report’s authors expect that efforts to promote plant-based diets will be met with the same resistance from the meat industry that anti-smoking initiatives were initially met with by tobacco companies. But they say that’s a small price to pay in order to help prevent poverty, starvation, climate change, loss of wildlife, and environmental damage. Not to mention animal suffering.
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Written by Michelle Sherrow