If everyone went vegan, how would we grow enough food?

Do you think that eating plants would require more land than eating animals?

You might be surprised to learn that it takes almost 20 times less land to feed a vegan than it does to feed someone a diet that includes animal flesh and secretions. That’s because vegans consume crops such as grains directly, instead of inefficiently feeding them to animals who will be killed and eaten.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, (quoting the National Corn Growers Association), about 80% of all corn grown in the U.S. is consumed by farmed animals. Humans consume only about 12% of the U.S. corn crop. Quoting the United Soybean Board, the EPA tells us that over 30 million tons of soybean meal are consumed as livestock feed in a year. Worldwide, approximately 75% of soybeans are used for animal feed. Imagine how many more people could be fed with all that food!

According to the U.N. Convention to Combat Desertification, it takes up to 10 pounds of grain to produce just 1 pound of meat, and in the United States alone, 56 million acres of land are used to grow feed for animals, while only 4 million acres are producing food for humans to eat.

More than 90 percent of all Amazon rain forest land cleared since 1970 is used for grazing livestock. In addition, one of the main crops grown in the former rain forest is soybeans used for animal feed. (The soybeans used in most soy products sold in U.S. grocery stores are grown in the United States.)

Of the world’s more than seven billion people, more than 840 million are counted as suffering from chronic hungerIt is estimated that a person dies of hunger or hunger-related causes every ten seconds, most of them children. That’s 3,153,600 people who die of hunger every year.

EarthSave, quoting a 1994 study, states that 10 billion people could be sustained from present croplands if all ate a vegetarian diet. David Pimentel, professor of ecology in Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, reported in July 2007, “If all the grain currently fed to livestock in the United States [alone] were consumed directly by people, the number of people who could be fed would be nearly 800 million.”

So we have all the land we need to feed a vegan world, but over 3 million people will die this year if humans who can afford to, continue to consume animal flesh and secretions.

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