Food discussion, Food discussion Homework assignment 2 is | Quick Homework Help

Food discussion

Homework assignment 2 is to consider the 2 discussion proposals that appear below. Read the 2 proposals and rationales for them. 

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We (the U.S government) should give away surplus grain to those countries that can’t afford to buy it from us. 


We should all become vegetarians to help feed the hungry people in the world and reduce the environmental effects of livestock production. 

Rationale for Proposal 2: If everyone in the U.S. became a vegetarian, an aIDitional 250 million people in the world could be fed. This is based on the following logic. In general, a unit of grain will feed 10 people if eaten directly but only 1 if eaten indirectly by first feeding it to animals and then eating the animals. If our diet was completely meat, then becoming vegetarian would mean that of the 10 units of grain that would have gone to feeding animals, we take 1 for ourselves leaving 9 units that could feed 9 other vegetarian people. In actuality, only 25% of the calories in the American diet come from meat. Therefore every individual who eliminates meat from his or her diet would free up enough grain to feed about 2 other vegetarian people (9 x 0.25). This argument presumes that all the food that animals eat is also food we could eat, namely grain. Actually, for animals such as cows, only about 50% of their food comes from grains that are used in feedlots. The rest comes from rangeland and pastures whose soils and precipitation are too poor to grow crops. This means that becoming vegetarian would free up only the grain used in feedlots. So we should reduce by about half our estimate of how many other people could be fed by our becoming vegetarian. This means we could feed 1 other person in the world by becoming vegetarian. Since there are 260 million people in the U.S this means that if we all became vegetarians about 250 million extra people could be fed. Actually, we could accomplish this and still eat some meat as long as it only came from free-ranging animals.

Food Facts

Consumption: Food Facts


1) 1 billion people in the world suffer from chronic hunger

2) 40,000 children under 5 die each day from malnutrition and infection

3) Worldwide, since 1950, per capita meat consumption has more than doubled (100% increase)

4) In the U.S., since 1950, meat consumption has increased 65%

5) In the U.S 20% of daily calories come from protein, primarily from meat, although good health can be maintained on only 5-6% of calories from protein

6) By 2050 the world population will have increased from 7 billion at present to 9 or 10 billion. Although this is not a doubling of the world population, feeding this many people will require a doubling of agricultural production because individuals are eating more food, especially meat.


1) In the U.S. every week 2 million pigs are slaughtered, 200,000 cattle and 170 million chickens or turkeys

2) It takes 30 pounds of grain fed to cattle to get 1 pound of beef

3) 5% of cattle feed is converted to protein; the conversion rate is higher for other animals: 13% for pigs, 25% for poultry and 30% for fish

4) Making one hamburger uses 1.75 pounds of grain, 210 gallons of water, and produces 12 pounds of organic waste (such as manure); if the hamburger came from tropical beef, then 55 square feet of rainforest was destroyed

5) Livestock production contributes 18% of the gases that cause global warming.

6) 25% of world’s cropland (70% of U.S cropland) goes to feeding animals

7) 42% of corn grown in the U.S. goes to feeding animals; only 7% is used as human food (35% goes to ethanol and 17% is exported)

8) U.S corn accounts for 40% of world’s harvest; soybeans account for 50%

9) The amount of land in agricultural production per person is declining

10) 1/3 of world’s cropland has been abandoned because of overuse

11) 73% of world’s grazing lands have become desertified (i.e. have less than 25% of their original livestock grazing capacity)

12) Land aIDed to production has been the result of deforestation

13) Cropland yields are leveling off

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