Veganism - Global Hunger and Climate Change

"The pandemic may result in the culture of meat-eating change, not in a century or decades, but years. "                                                                                   


Time Magazine predicted that the culture of eating meat would not survive beyond the 21st century. The environmental, ethical, health, and evolutionary forces all work together to point humanity toward a new direction on how we will grow, process, share and consume food. The current course of the pandemic may result in the culture of meat-eating change, not in a century or decades but years.                                                                                    

Non-Vegan Food: There are three major issues relating to the human consumption of non-vegan food. 

Firstly, food habits have come under focus across all countries in the aftermath of the sweeping Covid-19 pandemic. People are seeking answers from scientists about zoonosis, which is another word for zoonotic diseases. This type of disease passes from an animal or insect to a human. Some don’t make the animal sick but will sicken a human. The jury is still out there, and the verdict is due.  

Secondly, meat-eating is majorly linked to the diversion of agricultural resources wastefully, producing less nutrition per Acre than plant food, causing malnutrition and Hunger globally. 

Thirdly, the livestock in general, fuelled by industrial meat production, has, according to the U.N.'s FAO report 2006, contributes 18% of the greenhouse gases to global warming, that is more than all the cars, trucks, aeroplanes, and all other forms of transport combined (13%). It's also more than all the homes and offices in the world put together (8%).

 Healthy Choice in the Sets of Food Available:

"Man's structure, external and internal, compared with that of other animals, shows that fruit and succulent vegetables constitute his natural food." 

- (Von Linne)   

Vegetarian food is the natural and most healthy diet for human beings. Therefore, it stands to reason that  humans should get  the food they were built to consume — a natural diet of fruits, grains, nuts, legumes, vegetables and dairy products. Countless studies have proven that vegetarians all over the world are far healthier than those who eat meat. 

FAQ's about Meat Eating: 

A. Why do meat eaters get more diseases and relatively die sooner?

1. When animals are killed for their meat, self-destruct enzymes are released, causing rapid decaying - unlike slow decaying plants, which have a rigid cell wall and simple circulatory system.

2. Just before and during the agony of being slaughtered, the animal's toxic byproducts are forced throughout the body, thus pain-poisoning the entire carcass/body.

3. Meat takes about 5.0 days to pass out of the body, with the decayed meat wearing out the intestinal tract prematurely. Vegetarian food, instead, takes 1.5 days. 

4. Meat, deficient in fibre, moves four times slower in 'elimination' than grain and vegetable foods.

B. Will I get enough nutrition without eating meat?

In the 1950s, scientists' classified meat proteins as first-class and vegetables as second-class. We have been conditioned to believe it, but this idea has been thoroughly disproved. The British Medical Journal Lancet stated  that we should not differentiate animal and vegetable proteins from a nutritional perspective. 

Millions of people in affluent societies consume meat 2 or 3 times the amount of protein they need. The excess is converted into carbohydrates and stored as fat. The US Obesity Rate now tops 40%. Globally obesity is now killing more people than hunger. Many studies have shown that a vegetarian diet provides much more nutritional energy than a meat diet.

C. Why do we fall victim to diseases?

In its natural state, our body is slightly alkaline, with a pH of 7.4. In this condition, the body's chemical processes can function most efficiently, and all the waste products are rapidly eliminated. However, if too much acidic food is consumed, and the body and blood become acidic instead of alkaline, the spleen, liver, heart, and kidneys, the blood-purifying organs, become overworked and ultimately weakened susceptible to disease. Thus the root cause of all illness is not the external agents of bacteria and virus which are always around us, but the impurities our bodies caused by improper digestion and elimination.

Healthy Food: 

“Your foods shall be your remedies, and your remedies shall be your foods.”, said Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine. Shrii Shrii Anandamurti writes, “Never let the fruits, roots and vegetable soups (alkaline foods), you eat be less than the quantity of acidic and starchy foods — the less acidic food, the better.”

The Rationale of Choice Among Available Foods: 

According to the Darwinian evolution of life, the food chain progresses from single-cell to complex multi-cellular organisms. That is, in the (Pratisaincara of Brahma-chakra) or the movement from crude to subtle, the reflection of consciousness increases as the physical structures of life become multi-cellular and complex. All living beings are classified based on ever higher development, that is, (increasing reflection of consciousness) as Monera, Protista, Fungi, Plantae and Animalia. Food to humans is available from Fungi, Plantae and Animalia. 

In deference to the evolved vegetarian-friendly physiological structure and ethic of 'Ahimsa', humans should favour the lesser consciousness-imbued food - Fungi and Plantae- in the sets of food available.  They also consume less natural resources - land, water, soil nutrition, while Animalia is higher in the food chain, hogging all this through the plants; and going through another conversion cycle, impact many more times. The ethical principle behind the ideal choice, out of the available sets of food, is apparent in the following words of Shrii Shrii Anandamurti:

"As far as possible, articles of food are to be selected from amongst the sets of items where development of consciousness is comparatively little i.e., If vegetables are available, animals should not be slaughtered. Secondly, before killing any animals having developed or underdeveloped consciousness, consider over and over whether it is possible to live in a healthy body without taking such lives."

Vegan Alternatives to Meat:

Today, numerous products on the market offer plant-based alternatives to every non-vegan food you can think of. Like the animal products they replace, most of them are delicious and protein-rich. These foods can enable you to quit animal products from your diet without a feeling of compromise.

                                                           Global Hunger

"The paradox of our time in history is that ....We have more degrees, but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgement, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness. We grow more food, but more people go hungry." 

          - (George Carlin)

Nearly ten thousand years ago, humans began domesticating animals for farm work, transport and local consumption of meat. The dispersed or distributed backyard-rearing of these animals remained an allied activity, complementing agriculture, posing no wasteful use of resources and toxic pollution until the mid 20th century. Since the 1950’s the number of farm animals on the planet has risen by 500%; now, they outnumber humans by three to one. More chickens are processed in the US than there are people in the world.

Industrial Meat Production:

The phenomenal growth of Industrial meat production has reversed, the symbiotic backyard livestock rearing, conducted by farmers for centuries,—into a monopoly of few Corporates driven by profit, resulting in Rural distress and Global Hunger. According to the University of Missouri Report 2012, the four largest Multinational Corporations (MNC's) of food and agriculture controlled 82% of the beef packing industry, 85% of soybean processing and 63% of pork.

The diversion of the natural resources of farming -- land, energy and water to incredibly wasteful meat production has become the single most significant factor behind global hunger. Few examples illustrate how few industrial meat production giants fuel Global Hunger.

According to Worldwatch Institute, "Continued growth in meat output is dependent on feeding grains to animals, creating competition for grain between affluent meat-eaters and the world's poor". In other words, "Using the poor man's grain to feed the rich man's cow". An ever-larger share of resources of developing nations goes into meat production for the meat-oriented diet of affluent countries. Guatemala exports 40 million pounds of meat annually to the US, whereas 50% of its babies will die before four due to malnutrition. Costa Rica's beef production quadrupled from 1960-1980. Yet, today a Costa Rican family of four eats less than the average American house cat. Most of Costa Rican's beef is exported to the US.

Four major companies control 85% of meat production — Tyson, JBS, Cargill and Smithfield. A shocking reality of monopoly capitalism, transforming centuries-old distributed production of meat into industrial behemoths, that has allowed, as critical as food, to become hostage to profiteers. They exploit the fertile lands of developing countries like Colombia, Guatemala, Brazil — diverting land, water, energy for high-priced meat production for the affluent. At the same time, malnutrition and hunger is the lot of the people of those countries.

Heavy meat consumption means feeding food grains to the livestock. It reduces the supply of grain available to needy people around the world. The U.N.Commission on Nutritional challenges for the 21st century said that - unless we make major changes, it will permanently handicap one billion children due to malnutrition over the next 20 years. "There is enough food in the world for everyone. But tragically much of the world's food and land resources are tied up in producing beef and other livestock -- food for the well off - while millions of children and adults suffer malnutrition and starvation". (Dr Walden Bello)

The first step toward averting the tragedy of global Hunger (along with a ban on MNC's in the Food business) is to correct the false perceptions about meat-eating and encourage humans to consume wholesome traditional plant foods, beans, nuts, grains, fruits and vegetables.

                                                          Climate Change       

According to a UN report in August 2019, the efforts to curb greenhouse-gas emissions and the impact of global warming will fall significantly short without drastic changes in international 1. Land use 2. Agriculture  3. Human diets. The report includes a policy recommendation for diets featuring plant-based and sustainably produced animal-sourced food as the opportunity to mitigate climate change and its benefits in terms of human health.

The UN's FAO report 2006 states that the livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most severe environmental problems... land degradation, climate change and air pollution, water shortage, water pollution and loss of biodiversity".  

The livestock sector powered by industrial meat production releases 18% of the greenhouse gases contributing to global warming. That is more than all the cars, trucks, aeroplanes, and all other forms of transport combined (13%). It's also more than all the homes and offices in the world put together (8%). Why it does not make headlines is not a mystery. The lobby of the influential cartel of industrial meat producers controlling 85% of the market is behind it.


"It is my view that the vegetarian manner of living, by its purely physical effect on the human temperament, would most beneficially influence mankind."

          - (Albert Einstein) 

Time Magazine predicted that the culture of eating meat would not survive beyond the 21st century. The environmental, ethical, health, and evolutionary forces all work together to point humanity toward a new direction on how we will grow, process, share and consume food. The current course of the pandemic may result in the culture of meat-eating change, not in a century or decades, but years.


G Surender Reddy

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