Monday, December 8, 2008

Take a bite out of the global grain crunch

In his latest column, the ever insightful progressive Canadian columnist Gwynne Dyer sounds the alarm about a potentially catastrophic global grain crunch brought on by climate change.

To my pleasant surprise, the ever environmentally regressive editors of the Winnipeg Free Press published Dyer's column today. I couldn't resist sending a letter to the editor pointing out a solution to the grain crisis which Dyer didn't mention:

Re: "It's worse than you think," Dec 7

The simplest, most sensible thing we can do to take a crippling bite out of the global grain crunch is to eat less meat, milk and eggs from grain-fed animals – or eat none at all.

Currently nearly 40 per cent of global grain production is fed to farmed animals, squandering eight pounds of plant protein (on average) to produce one pound of animal protein.

It's not that the animals should be denied their food. Most of them, born and raised in confined feeding operations, or factory farms, would be better off having never been born at all. It is we who breed them into a world of pain.

By eating more grains and beans instead of meat, eggs and milk, we can achieve four social goods:

  • Make more grain available to the global poor at cheaper prices.

  • Improve human health and longevity (as the research shows).

  • Reduce global warming (livestock production generates far more greenhouse gases than plant production).

  • And save animals from the abuse that is the hallmark of modern livestock production.

Syd Baumel
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