A thought-provoking post from Jayson Lusk on the common and on-the-face-of-it plausible claim that grain-eating uses far fewer resources/much less energy than meat-eating. His counter:
I suspect only a very tiny fraction of the world’s caloric consumption comes from directly consuming the raw corn or soy seeds. It takes energy to convert these seeds into an edible form – either through food processing or through animal feeding. So, what we want to compare is beef with other processed foods. Otherwise we’re comparing apples and oranges (or in this case, corn and beef).
Yes, we don’t eat grains (nibbling on wheat quickly loses its charm). And yes, converting corn into tortillas or wheat into bread consumes lots and lots of energy. Let the cattle do it!
Though what I really want now are the numbers. Anyone out there? They must be available, with digging, for large-scale industrial grain processing. And I’m still trying to find someone who knows how many calories a Mexican woman spent grinding tortillas five hours a day.
- What the Roman Empire Knew About Food Miles
- Who is going to farm?