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When an animal consumes grain, only 10% of that grain goes directly into producing the meat of the animal. The other 90% gets lost as energy to fuel digestion and the animal’s other internal body systems. It would be far more efficient for a human to consume the grain directly.
Other scientists and consumers have also pointed this out as being a tremendous waste of agricultural resources. Unfortunately, the demand for animal products is currently increasing whereas the demand for food grains (such as rice and wheat) is not.
By consuming only plants, we can increase the demand for food grains and decrease the demand for animal products. This will not end world hunger, but it is one of the biggest steps that we can take as individuals in that direction.
World hunger is a very complicated problem and many researchers and humanitarians point towards empowering people with education to build self-reliance, eliminating gender inequality, and developing partnerships with local government as solutions to ending world hunger.
If you would like to learn more about world hunger and how it may be eliminated, I would highly recommend checking out The Hunger Project. You can also click on this link to learn more about what the United Nations has done and is currently doing to help eradicate hunger
Chrispeels, M.J., & D.E., Sadava. (2003). Plants, Genes, and Crop Biotechnology (2nd ed., pp. 25-57). Mississauga, ON, Canada: Jones and Bartlett.
Hunger Statistics. (2014, January 1). http://www.wfp.org/hunger/stats
We Can End Poverty: Millennium Development Goals and Beyond 2015. (2013). http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/pdf/Goal_1_fs.pdf
The work that these children are forced into often requires them to clear fields with heavy and dangerous machetes. They face exposure to harmful pesticides and are not given any protective gear. In surveys conducted by the International Labor Office, it was found that most of these children work more than 12 hours a day and only 34% of them go to school.
You can help end child slave labor in the chocolate industry by supporting companies that pay their workers’ a livable wage, where children are not forced to work for free.
Here are some socially conscious brands:
Here are some brands that the socially conscious should avoid:
If you would like to learn more, John Robbins has a great blog post about fairly traded goods and the moral discrepancies behind chocolate.
You can also watch the powerful documentary: The Dark Side of Chocolate (Please note that this documentary is graphic).
Combating Child Labor in Cocoa Growing. (2005, February 1). Retrieved from http://www.ilo.org/public//english//standards/ipec/themes/cocoa/download/2005_02_cl_cocoa.pdf
Robbins, J. (2010, April 19). Is There Slavery In Your Chocolate? Retrieved from http://johnrobbins.info/blog/is-there-slavery-in-your-chocolate/
The Amazon rainforest stretches across nine Latin American countries and despite, the recent decline of inhabitants, it is home to over 300 indigenous people. The Amazon is the largest rainforest on earth.
The Amazon has provided the world with medicinal plants that serve as remedies to a variety of human ailments from certain types of cancers to toothaches. The trees in the Amazon have also become increasingly important with global climate change on the rise; it’s trees remove carbon dioxide, which is a green house gas.
General Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, has said that the Amazon’s inhabitants are the leaders in preserving the rainforest. By refraining from the consumption of animal products, we are voting for the preservation of these peoples’ land and livelihoods. In doing so, we are also protecting our planet’s future.
Ban Ki-moon visits Amazon rainforest on latest stop of international trip. (2007, November 17). Retrieved from http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=24635&Cr=brazil&Cr1=&Kw1=Arctic&Kw2=&Kw3=#.VCsySEsZApF
Deforestation. (2013, November 1). Retrieved from http://www.thinkglobalgreen.org/deforestation.html
Indigenous Peoples. (2014). Retrieved from http://www.un.org/Pubs/CyberSchoolBus/indigenous/locate_focus.asp
Oppenlander, R. (2012). Comfortably Unaware. New York, NY: Beaufort Books.
Workers in the meat and poultry industry are continually exposed to hazardous working conditions. Many of them are required to stand for long periods of time while handling knives and hooks to slaughter and process animals on a production line that moves extremely quickly. None of these workers were taught how to use a knife before starting the job.
Injuries include chemical burns, amputations, heat burns, tendonitis, and carpal tunnel syndrome. Illness may come from ammonia, viruses, blood, fecal matter, and bacteria such as salmonella. Many workers also suffer from psychological traumas because of the required repeated violent act of killing animals.
Many workers in the meat and poultry industry are illegal immigrants. This may be why some worksites have more than a 100% turnover rate in one year.
If you are interested in learning more about the workers behind the meat and poultry industry, I would highly recommend clicking on this link and that you check out Dr. Melanie Joy’s book, Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows.
Human Rights Watch Welcomes U.S. Government Meat and Poultry Study. (2005, February 3). Retrieved from http://www.hrw.org/news/2005/02/02/human-rights-watch-welcomes-us-government-meat-and-poultry-study
Melanie, J. (2010). The Human Slaughterhouse Animal. In Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows. San Francisco, CA: Conari Press.
Safety in the Meat and Poultry Industry, while Improving, Could Be Further Strengthened. (2005, January 1). Retrieved from http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d0596.pdf