It is no secret that people all over the world love meat. In the US especially, meat is often eaten in excess.
As much as individuals and society itself enjoy beef, pork, chicken and other meats, that does not change the fact that people could do with less of it.
Meat, as it turns out, is not efficient as an energy source, as animals have their own body processes to run, meaning not all their food becomes edible meat.
Most animals turn at the most seven to eight percent of fodder crop (crops used to feed animals used for meat) calories into meat, according to the Institute of Physics. Beef falls far below that with only three percent.
If less meat was eaten, this crop could be used to feed more people.
According to the Food Aid Foundation, there are 795 million people globally who do not have enough food to have a healthy, active lifestyle. This number pales in comparison to the 3.5 billion people who could be nourished by the crops we use to raise farm animals.
Fodder crops are not the only resources used up by raising animals for meat, however. Other resources, such as land and water, are also being used at a spectacular rate.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, 22 percent of the water used by people is dedicated to meat. In regards to land, a study by Science Magazine found that 26 percent of the world’s land mass is used for the purposes of raising and feeding farm animals.
Though meat does not make up a majority of what is eaten, less than 20 percent of the calories humans eat come from meat based on the same Science Magazine study. This does not warrant the tremendous resource use that the meat industry requires across the world.
However, the meat industry does benefit some. In the US alone, it employs roughly 482,100 people as of 2013, according to statistics provided by the North American Meat Institute.
Despite this, jobs would naturally be created in better utilizing these resources freed up by a smaller meat industry. Though completely stopping meat consumption is not feasible, decreasing it would be widely beneficial.