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Diet For A New America (A Case Against The Cow)

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Presentation on theme: "Diet For A New America (A Case Against The Cow)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Diet For A New America (A Case Against The Cow)
Excerpts from the book by John Robbins Son of the co-owner of the largest ice cream Company in the world, Baskin Robbins

2 All Things Are Connected
There is an old story which tells of a man who lived a long and worthy life. When he died, the Lord said to him: "Come, I will show you hell." He was taken to a room where a group of people sat around a huge pot of stew. Each held a spoon that reached the pot, but had a handle so long it couldn't be used to reach their mouth. Everyone was famished and desperate; the suffering was terrible.

3 After a while, the Lord said: "Come, now I will show you heaven
After a while, the Lord said: "Come, now I will show you heaven.” They came to another room. To the man's surprise, it was identical to the first room—a group of people sat around a huge pot of stew, and each held the same long-handled spoons. But here everyone was nourished and happy and the room was full of joy and laughter.

4 "I don't understand," said the man
"I don't understand," said the man. "Everything is the same, yet they are so happy here, and they were so miserable in the other place. What's going on?“ The Lord smiled. "Ah, but don't you see - here they have learned to feed each other.”

The livestock population of the US today consumes enough grain and soybeans to feed over five times the entire human population of the country. We feed these animals over 80% of the corn we grow and over 95% of the oats.


7 It is hard to grasp how immensely wasteful a meat-oriented diet is
By cycling our grain through livestock, we end up with only 10% as many calories available to feed human mouths as would be available if we ate the grain directly.

8 Less than half the harvested agricultural acreage in the US is used to grow food for people. (Canada would be similar) Most of it is used to grow livestock feed. To supply one person with a meat habit food for a year requires 3 ¼ acres. To supply one lacto-ovo vegetarian (do not eat meat or flesh of any kind, but do eat eggs and dairy products.) with food for a year requires ½ acre. To supply one pure vegetarian requires only 1/6th of an acre.


10 Lester Brown of the Overseas Development Council has estimated that if Americans were to reduce their meat consumption by only 10%, it would free over 12 million tons of grain annually for human consumption. That, all by itself, would be enough to adequately feed every one of the 60 million human beings who will starve to death on the planet this year.


12 In Guatemala, 75% of children under five years of age are undernourished. Yet, every year Guatemala exports 40 million pounds of meat to the United States.

13 Many people believe that hunger exists because there’s not enough food to go around. But as Frances Moore Lappe and the anti-hunger organization Food First have shown, the real cause of hunger is a scarcity of justice, not a scarcity of food. Enough grain is squandered every day in raising American livestock for meat to provide every human being on earth with two loaves of bread.


15 Hunger is really a social disease caused by the unjust, inefficient, and wasteful control of food.

16 The world’s cattle alone, not to mention pigs and chickens, consume a quantity of food equal to the caloric needs of 8.7 billion people (2.5 billion more than the world’s population, 2004)

17 “He would daily throw out crumbs for the sparrows in the neighborhood
“He would daily throw out crumbs for the sparrows in the neighborhood. He noticed that one sparrow was injured, so that it had difficulty getting about. But he was interested to discover that the other sparrows, apparently by mutual agreement, would leave the crumbs which lay nearest their crippled comrade, so that he could get his share, undisturbed.” Albert Schweitzer

18 1 acre of land can grow 20,000 potatoes
1 acre of land can grow 20,000 potatoes. That same acre of land, if used to grow a cattle feed, can produce less than 165 pounds of beef.

19 From Dust To Dust Archaologists tell us that soil erosion played a determining role in the decline and demise of many great civilizations including those of ancient Egypt, Greece and the Mayans.


21 Topsoil is the dark, nutrient rich soil that holds moisture and feeds us by feeding our plants. It is the most basic foundation of our sustenance upon this earth.

22 200 years ago, most of America’s croplands had at least 21 inches of topsoil.
Today, most of it is down to around 6 inches of topsoil, and the rate of topsoil loss is accelerating. We have already lost 75% of what may well be our most precious natural resource. As a result, the US Department of Agriculture says that the productivity of the nation’s cropland is down 70%, with much of it on the brink of becoming barren wasteland.

23 It takes nature 500 years to build an inch of topsoil
It takes nature 500 years to build an inch of topsoil. Currently, we lose an inch of topsoil every 16 years. It takes nature a century to create 50 tons of topsoil on an acre of cropland. Today, thanks to the agricultural techniques we employ to produce massive amounts of livestock feed, one hard rainfall, or one strong wind, can erode that much topsoil from an acre of land in a couple hours.


25 “I never give them hell. I just tell the truth and they think its hell
- Harry S. Truman

26 Where’s The Beef (from)?
An ever-increasing amount of beef eaten in the United States is imported from Central and South America. To provide pasture for cattle, these countries have been clearing their priceless tropical rainforests.

27 In 1960, when the US first began to import beef, Central America was blessed with almost 350,000 square kilometres of virgin rainforest. Now, only 40 years later, less than 200,000 square kilometres remain. At this rate, the entire tropical rainforests of Central America will be gone in another 40 years.


29 A cattle barge in the heart of the Amazon.

30 Tropical Rainforests Tropical rainforests are among the world’s most precious natural resources. Amounting to only 30 percent of the world’s forests, rainforests: Contain 80 percent of the earth’s land vegetation Account for a substantial percentage of the earth’s oxygen supplies. Are the oldest ecosystems on earth and have developed extreme ecological richness. Half of all species on earth live in the moist tropical rainforests.


32 To produce a single pound of meat takes an average of 9,500 litres of water – as much as a typical family uses for all its combined household purposes in a month!


34 To produce a day’s food for one meat-eater takes over 15,000 litres; for lacto-ovo vegetarians, only 4,500 litres; for a pure vegetarian, only 1,100 litres. It takes less water to produce a year’s food for a pure vegetarian than to produce a month’s food for a meat-eater.

35 “The frog does not drink up the pond in which he lives.”
- Buddhist proverb

36 Holy S**T ! It is a real challenge to our imaginations to conceive how much manure is produced by animals.

37 Every 24 hours, the animals destined for North America’s dinner tables produce 20 billion pounds of waste. That is 250,000 pounds of excrement a second!

38 The livestock of the US produce 20 times as much excrement as the population of the country.

39 “One cow produces as much waste as 16 humans
“One cow produces as much waste as 16 humans. With 20,000 animals in our pens, we have a problem equal to a city of 320,000 people.” - Harry Webb, president, Blair Cattle Company

40 Wasted Energy Another way scientists compute the energy costs of various foods is to assess the amount of fossil fuel needed to produce them.

41 On a traditional farm, pigs and chickens kept warm in the winter by nestling in bedding. And in the summer they would cool off in shady, damp soil. In today’s factory farms, these conditions, temperatures must be artificially controlled, and that takes energy.

42 Heat is needed because the young animals are separated from the warmth of their mother’s bodies.
Baby animals by nature are vulnerable to chills, and their situation is more precarious when they are taken from their mothers and put on cold concrete or drafty metal slate floors.

43 More energy is needed to bring feed to the animals.
And more is needed to move their waste away. The whole assembly line factory farming system is explicitly designed at every step to minimize human labour, and instead use machines that consume energy.

44 When most of us sit down to eat, we aren’t very aware of how our food choices affect the world. We don’t realize that in every Big Mac there is a piece of the tropical rainforests, and with every billion burgers sold another hundred species become extinct. We don’t realize that in the sizzle of our steaks there is the suffering of animals, the mining of our topsoil, the slashing of our forests, the harming of our economy, and the eroding of our health. We don’t hear in the sizzle the cry of the hungry millions who might otherwise be fed. We don’t see the toxic poisons accumulating in the food chains, poisoning our children and our earth for generations to come.

45 But once we become aware of the impact of our food choices, we can never really forget. Of course, we can push it all to the back of our minds, and we may need to do this, at times, to endure the enormity of what is involved.

46 The End…

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