On the Conservation of Organic Resources.

Hunger, it has plagued mankind for longer than perhaps any other problem. The finding of food has nearly always been mankind's chief occupation. So great a horror has hunger been that the bible even names famine has one of the four horseman hailing the approach of the apocalypse. Project Hunger tells us:

Hunger persists: Each and every day, 35,000 people die as a consequence of chronic, persistent hunger. Between 750 million to 1 billion people live in conditions of poverty so severe that they are unable to obtain enough food to meet their daily requirements. This is not the kind of hunger that makes headlines, as in a famine, but a silent holocaust that continues day after day, month after month.

Hunger has been and remains one of the gravest and most difficult problems humanity has ever faced. And yet there is no real world wide shortage of food. In America alone we will produce enough grain and soybeans to feed 1,300,000,000 people and use it for animal feed, that's not counting the surpluses purchased by the U.S. government and allowed to rot, nor potential production of farmers who receive subsidies not to grow.

If we reduced our meat production by just 10% or were able to produce 10% more food from those subsidized farmers and the use of those surpluses, that would be sufficient food to feed 130 million people annually. If Project Hungers numbers are accurate (And I suspect they are) then only approximately 12,775,000 people are actually dying of starvation annually. This means that those surpluses could easily end world hunger ten times over!

One is now immediately forced to ask "why then don't we do that?" The answer alas is not in reality that simple. While those numbers look promising and many vegetarians and animal rights activists will repeatedly quote them to illustrate the evils of meat consumption, the reality is that Americans are unlikely to cut their meat consumption by even 5%. Even if they did, that still doesn't mean that those surpluses would continue to be grown. Nor would they likely be shipped anywhere even if they were.

One must remember that firstly farmers are not government workers, nor do they grow their crops out of any altruistic desire to feed the masses. Rather they are businessmen like any other and their first goal is to turn a profit with their product, indeed must turn a profit if they wish to continue operating their farms.

Now there are two cardinal rules to turning a profit that would seem to most to be fairly self evident. The first is "Don't make a habit of giving your product away for free." And the second would be "Don't waste resources producing more product than your market demands since anything you produce and do not sell is a loss."

The end result of this is that even if through some miracle you were able to get Americans to reduce their meat consumption by that 10%, the economic realities of the situation would force farmers to simply produce 10% less feed product and turn that land and resources instead to something that Americans would buy.

Even presuming that farmers could (and were willing to) sell 10% less of their product while maintaining current production levels without going under, who's going to ship several 100 million tons of grain products world wide at their own expense?

Even project hunger, a rather optimistic organization, admits:

"Ending hunger is a highly complex challenge. It is increasingly clear that charitable responses and traditional bureaucratic programs, as useful as they may be, are insufficient to carry the day. More importantly, people increasingly recognize that conventional approaches are based on a framework of thinking that is inconsistent with what actually must be done to achieve the end of hunger on a sustainable basis."

So it would seem then that the problem of hunger is less a question of producing more food than it is a matter of managing our existing food resources more efficiently.

One way we could begin is by instead of producing less meat, simply make more efficient use of what meat is produced.

Now, given that it is generally accepted that meat is one of the least efficient food sources to produce, does it not seem insane that on average we waste more than 12,378,767 pounds of viable meat, world wide, everyday. What's more these surpluses are not collected in a few well off industrialized nations needing shipment over vast distances to be effective. Nor for that matter would anyone be hurt financially by giving this meat away.

So where then is this abundance of meat waiting to feed the hungry masses of the earth? It's reading this node: it is us. Now before you vote this down in disgust, consider a moment. I'm not talking about killing people for the express purpose of eating them. Why bother, millions of people die everyday, and all of us will eventually. Think about that 6 billion people world wide, weighing on average 150 pounds apiece. Now with the rather conservative estimate that only half that weight is actually muscle mass, we're looking at 75 pounds of edible meat per person. Presuming that the entire world population will die out and replace itself within the next 100 years that means that within the next century 450 billion pounds of meat will be embalmed, burned, cut up by medical students, or buried.

That works out to a lofty 12,378,767 pounds everyday. More than enough to feed those 33,000 everyday who are dying.

Now realizing that most at this point are thinking, "That's disgusting, it's immoral, it's sinful, it's unnatural." I again would ask you to stop and consider, "is it really?" Think about it, intrinsically human flesh is no less palatable than the flesh of any other omnivore like the pig, or for that matter many herbivores like cattle.

As for immoral, again why? As I said earlier I'm not talking about killing people solely for the sake of eating them, just eating them after they die. And wouldn't it be a much more fitting remembrance of the departed to use their mortal shell to continue and sustain life? And if one absolutely must bury or burn something there would still be ample body left after all the viable meat was removed. But to continue to use the admittedly vast resources it takes to sustain a human for his/her entire life span and then to take the end product, embalm it with toxic chemicals, and then bury it in an inert box, That's immoral.

As for sinful, where in the bible does it say "Thou shalt not eat thy neighbor?" Nowhere. What's more most Christians practice symbolic ritualistic cannibalism on a regular basis, did Jesus not say, "This is my flesh, eat of it." If God truly disapproves of cannibalism why doesn't he address the issue? Why does he make acts of symbolic cannibalism one of the most sacred rites within his churches?

Unnatural? Cannibalism has occurred in one form or another at one time or another in virtually every culture humanity has ever devised. how can a behavior so widely practiced be unnatural.

Many would say, "Sure but you don't see dogs and cats eating each other do you?" True they do not, but I would hasten to point out that we are neither cats nor dogs. What's "natural" varies from animal to animal, and while cats and dogs may not habitually eat each other, their are a great many animals that do. Further if you cut a dog into meaty chunks and attempt to feed one dog to another it will eat it unhesitatingly and with great relish.

Looked at from a purely objective rational standpoint there simply is no rational reason for us to continue perpetuating these primitive burial rituals that requires such unforgivable, monumental waste of organic resources, on a planet that is increasingly more crowded and less able to sustain such wasteful habits.

Now is the time for humanity as a whole to lay aside their ethnocentric cultural biases, accept that our eating habits are based, not on the realities of the universe but unfounded superstition, and do the right thing for our world and as a people as a whole.


Statistical data on agricultural production provided by a Pulitzer prize nominee John Robbins and his essay "Diet for a New America" Printed in Realities 1989
Quotes from "Project Hunger" were taken from their web page which can be found at "www.thp.org"

Other data drawn from the United States Department of Agriculture at their web page located at "www.usda.gov