Recently I ran across a few articles and posts that claim a vegetarian diet is actually worse for the environment than the diet of a meat eater! Shocking and also very misleading. So I thought I’d look into each one of the arguments over the next few posts.
The argument usually goes like this:
1. It takes more land to grow all those vegetables than animal farming
2. More animals are displaced and bugs killed due to the growing of more vegetables
3. Importing vegetarian foods like tofu and plant based meats uses more resources than eating animal meat
I’ll start with the argument that it takes more land to grow all those veggies.
Ok, so let’s think about this. It takes 2.6 pounds of feed to produce one pound of beef, and it takes approximately 2 pounds of feed for every pound of chicken. So this would indicate that it takes on average over 2x the amount of farmed land to feed farmed animals than what it would take for a veggie diet.
Yes, I can hear you saying that animals are not fed only plant based food so this assumption of over 2x is not correct. Yes, it is very true and very, very sad that farmed animals do not only eat plants. The factory farming industry has made farm animals cannibals. Below is the list of ingredients such as animal waste, rendered animals, and chemicals that are added to what is fed to the various factory farmed animals that people eat. Please note that this reference is not from an animal rights site but from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. While not everything a farmed animal eats is grain, the vast majority of it is or it is from an rendered animal that was also on a similiar diet. So I don’t think we can claim that because not everything a farmed animal eats is grain the ratio of food to meat is exaggerated.
Animal Feed Ingredients and Feeding Practices:
Rendered animal products
Plant- and Animal-based Fats
Biological, Chemical and Other Etiologic Agents Detected in Animal Feed
PCDDs, PCDFs, and PCBs
So if it takes about 2x as much to produce one pound of food from animals than it does from plants, and even though the food given to animals is not totally plant based, it is hard to argue that a vegan diet takes more land than a diet based on the slaughter of animals. And besides, does anyone really want to eat somthing that has eaten PCBs and rendered animals?