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Absinth & Absence
Bonzo The goD
Stefanie Van de Velde
Herman J. Claeys
Thursday, September 23, 2004
Growing animal tissue is terribly wasteful of
energy. Cows, bulls and pigs are very inefficient convertors of grain energy
into edible flesh. Most of the food energy they take in is turned into unedible
body parts like bones and hair, or lost as heat while just walking around and
breathing. Thus, it takes 16 pounds of high protein and soy beans to create one
pound of feed lot beef fles for a steak dinner.
As a result of this energy inefficiency, current
Western meat agriculture and food distribution devour billions of gallons of
oil, in the form of diesel fuel and gasoline, to:
run the tractors to grow the mountains of grain needed to feed the animals,
fuel the trucks that ship the grains and animals,
pump billions of gallons of water to irrigate fields and run the slaughterhouse operations, and
ower refrigeration units to keep the carcasses from decomposing.
Consider what a poor return meat yields in exchange
for precious fuel oil invested: 60 calories of petrolium energy must be
"plowed into the soil" to harvest ONE food calorie from animal flesh.
By contrast, growing grains and legumes to feed directly to people will yield
twenty calories of food energy for each ONE calorie of fuel energy invested. One
acre of land will yield 165 ponds of beef, or, 20,000 pounds of patatoes!
The current energy gluttony, driven by meat
consumption, makes American agriculture, and thus the food supply of Americans,
dependent upon a string of oil tankers stretching from our shores to the
Persian Gulf _with all the political and military tensions that such dependency
creates. Evolving to a plant-based diet would significantly reduce, or perhaps
competely eliminate, our current addiction to imported oil. This could occur as
huge tracts of land, freed from growing animal fodder, could be devoted to
producing fast-growing trees or fiber plants to be harvested and burned for
electricity and heat. As one pound wood or other high-cellulose biomass
contains 8500 BTU per pound, one acre of harvested biomass can replace
approximately thirteen barrels of oil.
Burning biomass for energy is far more
environmentally benign than burning fossil fuels. Trees and prairie grass are
made from carbon dioxide taken from the air itself: burning this biomass only
recycles atmospheric carbon dioxide and adds no net CO2 to the air. Fossil
fuels, like coals, oil and gas, dredge up long-buried carbon deposits, out of
the carbon cycle for millions of years, and, when burnde add fresh carbon
dioxide to the atmosphere _retaining the Earth's heat, worsening problems with
global warming and threatening to produce famine-causing weather abberations.
Thus, adoption to a more vegan style of nutrition on
a national level could not only reduce our oil imports, but ease political and
ecologic pressures as well.
The extended and devastating drougts across North
America in the summer of 1988, underscored one of the most wasteful and
damaging aspects of the national meat habit: livestock production and
slaughterhouse activity are, by far, the greatest consumers, and the most
profligate polluters of fresh water in America today _soaking up half of all
water consumed on the continent and polluting more water than all the cities
and industries combined.
Meat production requires gluttonous amounts of irrigation
water to grow feedgrain, vast feedlots of large, thirsty animals that must be
watered, and huge slaughterhouse operations awash in blood and entrails that
flush through millions of gallons of drinking water per minute. Meanwhile,
life-giving water tables across North America are falling steadily, and wells
across the country are going dry.
Livestock meat production is also the most egregious
polluter of fresh water in the world. In the United States, human beings create
12,000 pounds of excrement every second _while American livestock generate
250,000 pounds of excrement each second. A large livestock feeding operation,
with 100,000 cows, has a sewerage disposal problem of the same magnitude as the
city of New Orleans. When the rain falls on the feedlots, tons of excrement can
be washed into the nearest river, polluting untold billions of gallons of
precious drinking water, often upstream from cities and towns.
This year twenty million people will starve to death
due to lack of grains and legumes to eat. A child on our planet starves to
death every three seconds. If Americans decrease their meat consumption by only
ten per cent, enough land would be freed to grow food for every person on earth
who would otherwise starve to death this year. The solution to world hunger
is to help other nations prosper, helping them to control their own
populations and grow their own food. However, in short term, the exploding
human populations and dwindling farmlands will force us to grow more grain for
direct human consumption and less, if any, for the grain-feeding of animals.
The American "hamburger obsession" exacts
another grave price, affecting all life forms on this planet. In order to
harvest timber and grow "cash crop beef", to maximisze profits and
reduce foreign debt, vast tracts of priceless, tropical rainforests are being
cut and burned at the staggering rate of twenty acres per minute, twenty-four
hours a day. This equals a forest area the size of Pennsylvania disappearing
every year. This relentless destruction of rain forests also obliterates three
entire species of rare plants and animals every day, including loss of plants
with potentially great medicinal benefits.
Whether Americans actually import and consume
"rainforest beef" or merely set the example for others through our
prodigious beef consumption, our meat habit is a driving force of ecologic
Nothing fouls the streams like wallowing cows, and
nothing turns grassland ot desert wasteland like beef and dairy cattle grazing
upon the hillsides. Stripped of the grasses and trees, the topsoil of land
grazed on by cattle quickly erodes and washes into the rivers with every
rainstorm. The United States taxpayer subsidizes cattle grazing on National
Forest and other public lands. The cattle producer pays but a minimal grazing
fee _a trivial portion of the cost of repairing the habitat destruction wrought
by grazing thousands of heads of cattle upon the fragile, semi-arid ecosystems
of the American West.
Almost half of America's croplands are devoted to
producing feedcorn, soybeans, oats, sorghum, bay and other animal fodder.
Because the majority of the six billion tons of priceless topsoil that erodes
off American farmlands yearly blows and washes off grazing lands or these vast
fields of animal food, meat production, driven by our animal-based diet, is
responsible for the vast majority of future-threatening topsoil erosion. This
pernicious loss of topsoil is completely arrestable _the floor of a healthy
forest doesn't erode. It is time to reconsider other uses for the fertile lands
and soils of North America _while we still have them.
As author John Robbins states in DIET FOR A NEW
AMERICA, "We do not inherit the land from our ancestors, we borrow it
from our children." The American meat habit is squandering our
children's priceless inheritance. Of extreme importance, the growing spectre of
world starvation makes the American meat habit especially grotesque. Eighty per
cent of all the grains and legumes grown in America today becomes food, not for
hungry human beings, but for animals! The grain and water resources that are
converted into a single beefsteak meal can feed eight people for a day.
American forests are also continually disappearing under the
chainsaw and bulldozer blade, turning much of our national wilderness heritage
into cow pastures and cattle-watering holes. We are trading our forestsfor
cheeseburgers and hot dogs. Many people on Earth are now realizing that in the
late twentieth century on Planet Earth the raising and killing of animals for
food has become far to costly.
Fortunately, all the problems which seem to be dragging us
along a collision course to disaster can be reversed and transformed into
forces of rescue, beginning with a simple realization. It is time to positively
change our taste preferences, and begin to make food choices in harmony with
the nutritional realities of our bodies, and the ecological balance of nature.
It is no coincidence that precisely the same evolution to
plant-based food choices that will improve the health of each person, will also
help to rebalance the natural (man-maid) systems of planet Earth.
As less meat is produced and consumed, land will be freed
for the great forests of our continent to return _and as they do, the water
will become cleaner and more plentiful. As oil burning in animal agriculture
decreases, the air will become cleaner. Every person who changes to a pure
vegetarian diet saves one acre of trees.
Most of the erosion of our topsoil and much of the poisoning
of our air, water and other life-support systems would cease _and a deep
healing of the planet would begin.
Human suffering from degenerative diseases resulting from an
animal-based diet should deminish, and soon following, the national finance
burden of medical costs and high taxes will lessen.
With lower health care costs, lending money would become
available to help people build new houses, schools, and non-polluting energy
sources. The national debt would decrease, as should our taxes.
World hunger could and should disappear. Only economics and
politics would (temporarily) prevent the available food from actually finding
it's way into the mouths of the hungry.
A new era of peace and plenty could dawn for all the Earth's
plagiated from: VEGAN NUTRITION: PURE and SIMPLE
by: Michael Klapper, M.D. ISBN 0-9614248-9-3 gentle world inc.
"People are the only animals that drink the milk
of the mother of another species. All other
animals stop drinking milk altogether after
weaning. It is unnatural for a dog to nurse from
a giraffe; a child drinking the milk of a mother
cow is just as strange."
-- Michael Klaper, M.D.
outside US, Belgium:
Ongeveer 800 miljoen mensen – zowat een zesde van
de bevolking uit de derde wereld – zijn
ondervoed, waaronder 200 miljoen kinderen.1 Elk
jaar sterven meer dan 6 miljoen kinderen aan de
gevolgen van ondervoeding.2 De hongerdood slaat
elke 3,6 seconden toe.3 Dit stemt overeen met een
vijftigtal jumbojet vliegrampen per dag zonder
Ondertussen leven 1,3 miljard runderen, 0,9
miljard varkens, 1,8 miljard schapen en geiten,
en 14,1 miljard kippen4 van ongeveer 76% van alle
landbouwgrond op onze planeet.5 Bovendien wordt
gemiddeld 44% van alle graangewassen in de wereld
gebruikt als veevoeder.6 Globaal gezien neemt de
teelt van veevoedergewassen (andere dan grassen)
ongeveer een kwart van alle beschikbare akkerland
in.7 Op deze gronden kan in vele gevallen
plantaardig voedsel voor menselijke consumptie
Livestock creates an array of problems not because
cows, pigs, and chickens are hazards in
themselves, but because human institutions have
driven some forms of animal farming out of
alignment with the ecosystems in which they
operate. Many governments--including those of
China, the European Community, and the United
States--subsidize ecologically harmful methods of
growing feed crops and raising animals.
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