U.S. could feed 800 million people with grain that livestock eat, Cornell ecologist advises animal scientists
MONTREAL — From one ecologist’s perspective, the American system of farming grain-fed livestock consumes resources far out of proportion to the yield, accelerates soil erosion, affects world food supply and will be changing in the future.
“If all the grain currently fed to livestock in the United States were consumed directly by people, the number of people who could be fed would be nearly 800 million,” David Pimentel, professor of ecology in Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, reported at the July 24-26 meeting of the Canadian Society of Animal Science in Montreal. Or, if those grains were exported, it would boost the U.S. trade balance by $80 billion a year, Pimentel estimated.
With only grass-fed livestock, individual Americans would still get more than the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of meat and dairy protein, according to Pimentel’s report, “Livestock Production: Energy Inputs and the Environment.”
An environmental analyst and longtime critic of waste and inefficiency in agricultural practices, Pimentel depicted grain-fed livestock farming as a costly and nonsustainable way to produce animal protein. He distinguished grain-fed meat production from pasture-raised livestock, calling cattle-grazing a more reasonable use of marginal land.
Animal protein production requires more than eight times as much fossil-fuel energy than production of plant protein while yielding animal protein that is only 1.4 times more nutritious for humans than the comparable amount of plant protein, according to the Cornell ecologist’s analysis.
Tracking food animal production from the feed trough to the dinner table, Pimentel found broiler chickens to be the most efficient use of fossil energy, and beef, the least. Chicken meat production consumes energy in a 4:1 ratio to protein output; beef cattle production requires an energy input to protein output ratio of 54:1. (Lamb meat production is nearly as inefficient at 50:1, according to the ecologist’s analysis of U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics. Other ratios range from 13:1 for turkey meat and 14:1 for milk protein to 17:1 for pork and 26:1 for eggs.)
Animal agriculture is a leading consumer of water resources in the United States, Pimentel noted. Grain-fed beef production takes 100,000 liters of water for every kilogram of food. Raising broiler chickens takes 3,500 liters of water to make a kilogram of meat. In comparison, soybean production uses 2,000 liters for kilogram of food produced; rice, 1,912; wheat, 900; and potatoes, 500 liters. “Water shortages already are severe in the Western and Southern United States and the situation is quickly becoming worse because of a rapidly growing U.S. population that requires more water for all of its needs, especially agriculture,” Pimentel observed.
Livestock are directly or indirectly responsible for much of the soil erosion in the United States, the ecologist determined. On lands where feed grain is produced, soil loss averages 13 tons per hectare per year. Pasture lands are eroding at a slower pace, at an average of 6 tons per hectare per year. But erosion may exceed 100 tons on severely overgrazed pastures, and 54 percent of U.S. pasture land is being overgrazed.
“More than half the U.S. grain and nearly 40 percent of world grain is being fed to livestock rather than being consumed directly by humans,” Pimentel said. “Although grain production is increasing in total, the per capita supply has been decreasing for more than a decade. Clearly, there is reason for concern in the future.”
EIGHT MEATY FACTS ABOUT ANIMAL FOOD
From “Livestock Production: Energy Inputs and the Environment”
By David Pimentel
— WHERE’S THE GRAIN? The 7 billion livestock animals in the United States consume five times as much grain as is consumed directly by the entire American population.
— HERBIVORES ON THE HOOF. Each year an estimated 41 million tons of plant protein is fed to U.S. livestock to produce an estimated 7 million tons of animal protein for human consumption. About 26 million tons of the livestock feed comes from grains and 15 million tons from forage crops. For every kilogram of high-quality animal protein produced, livestock are fed nearly 6 kg of plant protein.
— FOSSIL FUEL TO FOOD FUEL. On average, animal protein production in the U.S. requires 28 kilocalories (kcal) for every kcal of protein produced for human consumption. Beef and lamb are the most costly, in terms of fossil fuel energy input to protein output at 54:1 and 50:1, respectively. Turkey and chicken meat production are the most efficient (13:1 and 4:1, respectively). Grain production, on average, requires 3.3 kcal of fossil fuel for every kcal of protein produced. The U.S. now imports about 54 percent of its oil; by the year 2015, that import figure is expected to rise to 100 percent.
— THIRSTY PRODUCTION SYSTEMS. U.S. agriculture accounts for 87 percent of all the fresh water consumed each year. Livestock directly use only 1.3 percent of that water. But when the water required for forage and grain production is included, livestock’s water usage rises dramatically. Every kilogram of beef produced takes 100,000 liters of water. Some 900 liters of water go into producing a kilogram of wheat. Potatoes are even less “thirsty,” at 500 liters per kilogram.
— HOME ON THE RANGE. More than 302 million hectares of land are devoted to producing feed for the U.S. livestock population — about 272 million hectares in pasture and about 30 million hectares for cultivated feed grains.
— DISAPPEARING SOIL. About 90 percent of U.S. cropland is losing soil — to wind and water erosion — at 13 times above the sustainable rate. Soil loss is most severe in some of the richest farming areas; Iowa loses topsoil at 30 times the rate of soil formation. Iowa has lost one-half its topsoil in only 150 years of farming — soil that took thousands of years to form.
— PLENTY OF PROTEIN: Nearly 7 million tons (metric) of animal protein is produced annually in the U.S. — enough to supply every American man, woman and child with 75 grams of animal protein a day. With the addition of 34 grams of available plant protein, a total of 109 grams of protein is available per capita. The RDA (recommended daily allowance) per adult per day is 56 grams of protein for a mixed diet.
— OUT TO PASTURE. If all the U.S. grain now fed to livestock were exported and if cattlemen switched to grass-fed production systems, less beef would be available and animal protein in the average American diet would drop from 75 grams to 29 grams per day. That, plus current levels of plant-protein consumption, would still yield more than the RDA for protein.
source: Cornell University
Agent Smith: I’d like to share a revelation that I’ve had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you’re not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with the surrounding environment but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You’re a plague and we are the cure.
~George M. Malkmus
“What Did God Tell Us We Should Eat.” We now move on to Chapter 9 of the book of Genesis:
“Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat (food) for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things (See Genesis 1:29), but flesh with the life there-of, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.”
~ Genesis 9:3
This is the verse concerning the consumption of animal source foods that is used more often than any other in an attempt to refute Hallelujah Acres’ teachings.
When I use Genesis 1:29 as a proof text that God intended His human creation to consume a 100% plant-based diet, it is Genesis 9:3 that critics immediately point to in their attempt to prove me wrong. In fact, most of the opposition to the Hallelujah Diet has been based on this one verse!
As we begin to examine this verse, let’s take a moment to review what we have learned thus far in this series…
In Genesis 1:29, God, immediately after creating Adam, gave him a pure, raw, 100% living plant foods diet to sustain the physical body He, God, had just created!
And for approximately the next 1,700 years (after Adam and Eve had sinned and sin had entered the human race), which takes us from Genesis 1:29 through chapter 8, there is absolutely no indication of God giving mankind permission to eat anything other than that pure raw plant-based diet He had given His human creation in Genesis 1:29.
Flood Covers and Destroys All Plant Life
As we come to chapter 9, let’s remember what had just transpired. In Genesis, chapters 6, 7, and 8, we learned that a great flood had covered the entire earth, destroying all plant life.
“And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth: and all the high hills that were under the whole heaven were covered.”
~ Genesis 7:19
“And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days.”
~ Genesis 7:24
The flood had destroyed all the fruits and vegetables, seeds and nuts that God had originally told man in Genesis 1:29 that he was to eat for food and the nourishment of their bodies — the very foods man had consumed to sustain his physical life for the 1,700 years preceding the flood! But now the flood had destroyed all of these raw plant foods!
God Gives Permission To Eat Flesh For The First Time
With their 100% plant food source destroyed by the flood, what were they going to eat in order to sustain their lives and thus stay alive?
God tells them what they can eat to stay alive in Genesis 9:3:
“Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat (food) for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things, but flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.”
It would appear from this verse, that in order to sustain man’s life after the flood had destroyed all plant foods, God gives man permission to eat the raw flesh of the clean animals they had brought with them onto the ark, at God’s instructions.
However, God did place some restrictions on how they were to eat that flesh in Genesis 9:4:
“…but flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.”
This was a brand new experience for Adam and his family, who had previously consumed a 100% raw, plant-based diet. Now God is telling them that they can eat the flesh of the clean animals they had brought with them onto the ark, but with certain restrictions.
Here God is clearly telling them they can eat the flesh of the animals, but that they were not to eat the flesh of the animal while it was still alive, while the blood was still in its flesh.
So God gives them permission to slay an animal for food for the very first time, and to eat the raw flesh of that animal.
When I say that they were given permission to eat the raw flesh of the animal, I am often challenged by those trying to refute my “raw flesh” theory. But let’s remember that there is absolutely no Biblical evidence that man cooked the flesh God had given man permission to eat here in Genesis 9.
Bible’s First Mention of Fire
According to both my Young’s and Strong’s concordances, the very first use of the word “fire”, recorded in the Bible, did not occur until Genesis 19:24 where we read “then the Lord rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven.”
This first mention of fire occurred around the year 1898 BC, which is some 2,000 years after creation.
The second time we find the word “fire” in the Bible — and the first time man is recorded as using fire — is found in Genesis 22:6-7:
“and Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son, and he took the fire in his hand…”
The estimated time of this first mention of man using fire, occurred around the year 1872 BC, almost 30 years after God had “rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire.”
And it is not until we get to the book of Exodus we are told not to eat the flesh raw anymore:
“eat not of it raw . . . but roast with FIRE . . .”
~ Exodus 12:9
Thus, it wasn’t until this event took place around the year 1491 BC — some 500 years after Abram took “fire” to the mountain in order to offer a sacrifice and 2,500 years after creation — that we find fire being used for the first time in the preparation of food.
I find the Scriptures in Exodus Chapter 12 to be most interesting concerning all we have been talking about.
In verses 4-12 of Exodus 12 we read:
“and the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt saying . . . take a lamb . . .your lamb shall be without blemish . . . take of the blood, and strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post . . . and they shall eat the flesh . . . eat not of it raw . . . but roast with fire . . . and ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it . . . shall ye burn with fire.”
I find several things of great interest in these verses:
1.Here we find fire being used in the preparation of food for the very first time in the Scriptures.
2.God says they should not eat the flesh raw.
3.They are to burn any leftover flesh.
If it was not until Exodus 12 that God told man he should not eat the flesh of the lamb raw, but rather to roast it, would it not stand to reason that in Genesis 9:3 and all those years prior to Exodus 12, man did eat the flesh of animals raw?
Note also, that God told them to burn any leftover flesh. Why? Because man had no means of refrigeration. Without refrigeration, animal flesh putrefies quite rapidly. Thus God, for health reasons, told them to burn the leftovers so that they wouldn’t get sick by eating rotten flesh.
Back When I Was A Kid…
I was born in 1934. When I was a boy, I remember the iceman delivering ice, by horse-drawn wagon, to my grandmother’s icebox. My other grandmother didn’t even have electricity when I was a boy, and the only means she had of keeping food was in the basement, which had a year round temperature around 50F.
Today, we tend to think in terms of what we have available to us at the current time.
Here are a few questions for those who so vehemently oppose the idea that man was intended to consume animal-source foods…
Man’s Anatomy Was Not Designed To Process Flesh
This might be a good time to examine the anatomy of man; to see how God designed our bodies to process food, and see what happens when animal flesh is introduced into it:
1.Our body was designed by God to move food quickly through a very lengthy digestive tract, comprised of many pockets and loops and bends, by means of fiber. Fiber can only be found in plant-source foods. There is absolutely no fiber in anything of animal origin!
2.Because there is no fiber in animal source foods, animal flesh moves very sluggishly through a very lengthy digestive tract, in an almost 100F degree atmosphere, and putrefies. That is why those who consume animal source foods have to use a deodorant, to cover the rotting flesh odor coming through the skin.
3.The human physical body also has a weak solution of hydrochloric acid in the stomach; it cannot properly break down animal flesh as can carnivorous animals, which have very high hydrochloric acid content.
4.Carnivorous animals, in contrast, have very sharp claws and teeth, with which to catch its prey, rip the flesh off in chunks, and have a very short digestive tract with a very high concentration of hydrochloric acid in its stomach to break down the flesh and get it clear out of its body before it putrefies, causing health problems.
There is much more that could be shared here, but it might be well to remember that it is the highly acidic, putrefied animal source foods being consumed today, that cause almost all of man’s digestive problems, especially colon problems. Also, the high protein found in animal source foods is one of the primary causes and feeders of cancer.
How much animal flesh man consumed immediately following the flood, or what percentage of his daily food intake consisted of animal flesh in those early Bible days is not known. But once the flood waters had receded and crops had been re-planted, I believe that man was intended to go back to consuming a primarily plant-based diet!
Something else we need to remember here is that point I raised earlier: no refrigeration. Once an animal was killed, it had to be consumed almost immediately, before it had time to putrefy. Thus it is very doubtful that, once the gardens were producing, humans ate very much animal flesh.
Also, in those Bible days, a man’s wealth was not determined by how much paper money he had in cash or in the bank, or in stocks and bonds. A man’s wealth was determined by the number of animals in his herd, and it is doubtful he would have killed and eaten very much of his wealth.
One thing we know for sure, man did not have bacon and eggs, or sausage and pancakes for breakfast, a hamburger for lunch, and some kind of a meat entrée (i.e. fried chicken) for dinner.
Our research and experience here at Hallelujah Acres reveals that animal-source foods are either the cause or a contributing cause of up to 90% of all the physical problems being experienced today.
If this is true, and it can be proven to be so, is it not foolish to cling to Genesis 9:3, to justify the consuming of animal source foods?
Miss Gulch: That dog’s a menace to the community. I’m taking him to the sheriff to make sure he’s destroyed.
Dorothy: Destroyed? Toto? Oh, you can’t! You mustn’t! Auntie Em, Uncle Henry, you won’t let her, will ya?
Uncle Henry: Course we won’t. Will we, Em?
Dorothy: Please, Aunt Em. Toto didn’t mean to. He didn’t know he was doing anything wrong. I’m the one that ought to be punished. I let him go in her garden. You can send me to bed without supper.
Miss Gulch: If you don’t hand over that dog, I’ll bring a damage suit that will take your whole farm! There are a law protectin’ folks against dogs that bite!
Auntie Em: How would it be if she keeps him tied up? He’s really gentle, with gentle people, that is.
Miss Gulch: Well, that’s for the sheriff to decide. Here’s his order, allowing me to take him unless you want to go against the law.
Auntie Em: We can’t go against the law, Dorothy. I’m afraid poor Toto will have to go.
Miss Gulch: [holding up a basket] Now you’re seeing the reason. Here’s what I’m taking him in, so he can’t attack me again!
Dorothy: No, no, I won’t let you take him! You go away, you, or I’ll bite you myself!
Auntie Em: Dorothy!
Dorothy: You wicked old witch! Uncle Henry, Auntie Em, don’t let her take him! [struggles with Miss Gulch] Miss Gulch: I’ve got an order!
Auntie Em: Put him in the basket, Henry.
Dorothy: Oh Toto. [runs out, crying] Miss Gulch: The idea!
Auntie Em: Elmira Gulch, just because you own half the county doesn’t mean you have the power to run the rest of us. For twenty-three years, I’ve been dying to tell you what I thought of you. And now, well, being a Christian woman, I can’t say it!