Thursday, September 24, 2009

More Campus Ignorance About Agriculture

Op-Ed: Go vegetarian to save the Earth, feed the hungry
By Michael W. Gibson
September 24, 2009

Although more people go vegetarian every day, the world will be better still if more people take the plunge into a meat-free lifestyle. Support comes from successful arguments from the standpoints of ethics, world hunger, the environment, personal health and animal rights. The reasons for vegetarianism greatly outweigh the reasons against, so why aren’t more people making the switch?

The problem of world hunger is tragic and vast. A vegetarian diet does much to aid in solving this global catastrophe. As John Hill wrote in “The Case for Vegetarianism,” a child dies as a result of malnutrition every 2.3 seconds. A third of the world’s grain harvest and 70 percent of the U.S.’s grain is now being fed to cattle and other livestock while nearly a billion human beings go to bed malnourished. A quarter of the total surface land area of the planet and a third of the U.S. landmass is utilized for livestock grazing. This land could be put to better agricultural use to feed the world’s hungry. Up to 40,000 pounds of potatoes can be grown on an acre of land whereas the same area will yield only 250 pounds of beef. Read More

College newspapers have been busy filling space with pro-vegetarian, anti-agriculture article this fall. In everyone that I have read so far, they have mearly been the regurgitation of inaccurate information. None of them have done any type of research that didn’t involve Google. For instance, this student makes the claim that 40,000 lbs of potatoes could be grown on the same amount of land that can only produce 250 lbs of beef. His glaring ignorance is on display in that one comment alone. Most of the land that livestock graze on isn’t suitable for farming. Trying to farm grazing land would be impossible in many areas and an irresponsible use of the land in others. The other tired argument that people could eat the feed that is used for livestock use is a half truth at best. It’s unfortunate that so many students have been so willing to show their ignorance of the industry which they seek to abolish.

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