It is convenient to categorize veganism as a response to animal suffering or a health fad. But, faced with the true figures, it seems plain that it is the only ethical response to what is arguably the world's most urgent social justice issue. Gluttony and greed are stripping the planet of vital resources and polluting what left of them.
Death by Gluttony,Terry Jones in The meaning of LIfe
Famine can only be avoided if we give up meat, fish and dairy.
The Christians stole the winter solstice from the pagans, and capitalism stole it from the Christians. But one feature of the celebrations has remained unchanged: the consumption of vast quantities of meat. The practice used to make sense. Livestock slaughtered in the autumn, before the grass ran out, would be about to decay, and fat-starved people would have to survive a further three months. Today we face the opposite problem: we spend the next three months trying to work it off. Our unsustainable gluttony needs may soon be deemed the worse offending crime against humanity, notwithstanding that of the torturous treatment of farm animals.
"Those who claim to care about the well-being of human beings and the preservation of our environment should become vegetarians for that reason alone. They would thereby increase the amount of grain available to feed people elsewhere, reduce pollution, save water and energy, and cease contributing to the clearing of forests." When non-vegetarians say that "human problems come first' I cannot help wondering what exactly it is that they are doing for human beings that compels them to continue to support the wasteful, ruthless exploitation of farm animals."
This is why biotechnology, aka GE or GMO - whose promoters claim that it will feed the world (a propaganda that has already been disproved )- has been deployed to produce primarily not food but feed: it allows farmers to switch from grains which keep people alive to the production of more lucrative crops for livestock. Within as little as 10 years, the world will be faced with a choice: arable farming either continues to feed the world's animals or it continues to feed the world's people. It cannot do both.
The impending crisis will be accelerated by the depletion of both phosphate fertilizer and the water used to grow crops. Aquifers are beginning the run dry all over the world, largely because of animal farming.
World hunger is increasing at a rate of 4 million a year. If all the farm produce that is used to feed animals was used to feed people a vegetarian diet then no one in the world would need to be hungry.
Modern vision of Edward Hicks "Peacable Kingdom"
In 2006, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization published the following report:
Climate change: With rising temperatures, rising sea levels, melting ice caps and glaciers, shifting ocean currents and weather patterns, climate change is the most serious challenge facing the human race. The livestock sector is a major player, responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions measured in CO2 equivalent." Livestock are also responsible for almost two-thirds (64 percent) of anthropogenic ammonia emissions, which contribute significantly to acid rain and acidification of ecosystems
Water: The livestock sector is a key player in increasing water use, accounting for over 8 percent of global human water use, mostly for the irrigation of feed crops. It is probably the largest sectoral source of water pollution, contributing to "dead" zones in coastal areas, "red tide", degradation of coral reefs, human health problems, emergence of antibiotic resistance and many others. The major sources of pollution are from animal wastes, antibiotics and hormones, chemicals from tanneries, fertilizers and pesticides used for feed crops, and sediments from eroded pastures.
Land degradation: Expansion of livestock production is a key factor in deforestation, especially in Latin America where the greatest amount of deforestation is occurring --" 70 percent of previous forested land in the Amazon is occupied by pastures, and feed crops cover a large part of the remainder.