A reason for a change

I find it incredible that meat consumption in my country contributes to people in other regions of the world not having enough to eat. I was shocked to hear that every 10 seconds a child dies from malnutrition or undernutrition. How can that be?


The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) reported nearly 805 million people were chronically undernourished between 2012 and 2014. That means every 9th human being does not have enough to eat.

Our meat consumption is partly responsible for this. Approximately 80% of global soya and 40-50% of global corn crops are fed to animals in factory farms, instead of feeding people who are suffering from hunger or malnutrition.

The world population has reached 7.5 billion, but if corn was distributed equally around the globe an additional 3 billion people could still be fed.

Yet, instead of distributing the plentiful plant food more efficiently and equitably, it is fed to Western nations’ “farm animals” to allow meat consumption by the privileged few.

If all people on earth followed a Western diet, we would need a second planet to satisfy this demand. But we only have one and, as the population continues to grow, we will have to share it with even more people. Adopting a plant-based diet is essential if we want everyone to be well-fed.

When I shower, I’m always careful to waste as little water as possible. But now I know that I can save even more water simply by replacing meat and other animal products with plant-based alternatives. For example, it takes around 9,000 litres of water to produce half a kilogram of beef. Producing the same amount of potatoes takes only 136 litres of water!


Meat and dairy production use up enormous quantities of water, which is a valuable and an increasingly limited resource. In fact, we waste one third (30%) of all available freshwater resources on the production of meat and dairy products.

With around 800 million people denied access to clean drinking water, wasting such a vitally important resource appears almost criminal.

Already there are water shortages in some regions of the world. A lack of clean drinking water is often lethal for the world’s poorest people, especially children, as they succumb to diarrhoeal diseases that with basic resources could be prevented or treated. Often, all they needed to survive was clean drinking water.