For years, PETA has been saying that if everyone went vegan—and we stopped feeding so many nutritious grains to farmed animals instead of to humans—world hunger would virtually disappear. Now, an eye-opening new study also backs us up.
Researchers at the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment determined that 36 percent of the calories in crops are being fed to farmed animals. When cattle are killed and turned into food, only 12 percent of those calories make their way into the human diet as meat. That’s a whopping two-thirds drop in the number of calories that would have been available to humans if the grains had been consumed directly by humans in the first place.
The researchers also reported that growing crops for direct human consumption increases available food calories by up to 70 percent and that the newly freed-up crops would be enough to feed an additional 4 billion people. That’s more than enough food to cover the estimated increase in world population of 2 to 3 billion people by 2050.
It takes about 13 pounds of grain to produce a single pound of meat. All that grain would go a long way toward feeding the hundreds of millions of people—many of them children—who don’t have enough to eat. In fact, malnutrition currently affects about 870 million people worldwide and accounts for the deaths of more than 2.5 million children under the age of 5 alone every year.
The case for continuing to eat animal products is too hard to swallow. Cows, pigs, and chickens raised for food suffer every day of their lives before they endure a painful and terrifying death. When we eat their flesh, milk, and eggs, we suffer, too, because eating animal products has been conclusively linked to everything from heart disease and diabetes to cancer and obesity. And feeding these animals vast amounts of grain and other crops is taking food out of the mouths of children.
The single best thing that anyone can do for animals, their own health, and the planet is to go vegan. In light of this new study—as well as overwhelming documentation of animal abuse on factory farms and medical studies showing that meat, eggs, and dairy products wreak havoc on the human body—vegan eating might not just be the best way to go. It might be the only way to go.
Check out this PETA blog post to see how easy (and delicious!) going vegan can be.