Borislaw asked in EnvironmentGreen Living · 1 decade ago

How much food energy is lost by consuming meat instead of vegetables?

How many people can one cow feed?

How much food does it take to feed a single cow?

How many people could be fed with the amount of food it takes to feed that cow?

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    When looking at environmental destruction and Fair Shares for people worldwide, overconsumption of meat and dairy products in affluent countries can only be seen as one of the major causes. We make ourselves ill through greed, whilst other people starve. Meat is an inefficient way of producing calories:

    When deciding on whether to eat the cow or the corn, remember that for each 17lb (*** corrected to 16lbs see below) of animal feed (wheat) grown produces 1lb of meat (on average). So if you have a 1,000lb steer, it means 17* x 1,000lb of corn/vegetables. Which could feed humans directly, as they do in many countries that are not as affluent as ours.

    Further there is approximately 50% loss in butchery yields through wastage. We are talking about dressed weights here, in reality, particularly in the West, many parts of the animal are never eaten by humans, they used to be fed back to the cattle. Even if you accept these (very conservative) figures as dressed weight, there is further loss in cooking (shrinkage). It is very significant.

    Particularly humans in affluent countries. No other species 'wastes' energy in pointless exercise, they utilize their energy to gain calories. No other species has the same wastage, through preference, preparation and COOKING. Whilst it can be argued that the 'wastage' returns eventually to the land, it is the wasteful/disrespect of life that means that even more animals are grown and slaughtered for our preferences and greed.

    Interesting Discussion here.

    http://noimpactman.typepad.com/blog/2007/08/why-th...

    EDITED TO ADD****

    'It takes 16 pounds of grain and 2,500 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of meat. One average meat eater could consume that pound of meat during a meal, while 16 people could have been fed on the grain it takes to produce that pound of meat'

    Quoted directly from the video below which takes it's facts from valid sources such as the Environmental Protection Agency and 2006 UN report among others.

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=hWWNLvgU4MI

    Source(s): 7 kilograms = 15.4323584 pounds (just less than 16 lbs) RE***** Correction: by Mr Butcher. Further there is approximately 50% loss in butchery yields through wastage. Mr Butcher States: A typical finished beef will weigh approx 1100lbs live weight. It will yield a dress carcass of approx 715 lbs. This will yield approx 575 lbs of finished meat 50% of 1100 lbs = 550lbs meat Mr Butcher, I did say approximately. Other figures suggest Live weight 1100, saleable retail cuts 512lb. (example of the 'approximation' here http://www.askthemeatman.com/info1.htm So I am correct. ' in reality, particularly in the West, many parts of the animal are never eaten by humans, they used to be fed back to the cattle' Correct. Highlighted in the World Health Organizations recommendations because previous farming practices were identified as being causal in of mad cow disease. World Health Recommendation NO:1 Stop Feeding Infected Animals to Other Animals WHO Recommendation 3: Stop Feeding Bovine Brains, Eyes, Spinal Cords, & Intestines to People or Livestock -High Risk Tissues in Animal Feed -Feeding Poultry Litter to Cattle -High Risk Tissues in Human Food -Advanced Meat Recovery -Central Nervous Contamination in Other Meat Products -Prion Infection Within Muscle WHO Recommendation 4: Stop Weaning Calves on Cow's Blood Readers may enjoy reading the information detail on this link. Also the information about the dangers of mechanically separated beef and advanced meat recovery. http://www.organicconsumers.org/madcow/Greger.pdf 'There is further loss in cooking (shrinkage). It is very significant' 'Generally, cooking losses range from 1/4 to 1/3 of the raw meat weight' 'An average cooked serving of meat weighs 140 - 160g. The amount of raw meat required for that serving depends on how much the meat shrinks during cooking as well as the particular cut, its size, fat and bone content and the degree of doneness. Generally, cooking losses range from 1/4 to 1/3 of the raw meat weight. Remember, cooking losses in small roasts and portion cuts tend to be greater than in larger cuts. http://www.madbutcher.co.nz/cooking_tips/index.cfm 'This statement is not true. I am a butcher' Well Mr Butcher, I am a fourth generation butcher's and farmer's daughter. I am also a smallholder myself. These statements are all true. Strange how Mr Butcher does not agree to facts that are agreed and supported by United Nations Reports, Environmental Protection Agency, The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Fellow members of the meat industry etc. http://www.fao.org/ag/magazine/0612sp1.htm http://www.fao.org/newsroom/en/news/2006/1000448/i... The only thing I will agree with you on is that the small family farm is very different to commercial intensive beef farming. IF you must eat beef, then buy it from smaller farms which treat beef MORE humanely, are MORE sustainable and More likely to be organic. In the UK, summer grazing is from April to Oct the rest of the time animals are housed and fed on most small farms. http://www.animalliberationfront.com/Practical/Hea... http://www.mcspotlight.org/media/reports/beyond.ht...
  • 1 decade ago

    A quick easy answer is the rule of 10. It takes 10lbs of grain to produce 1 pound of beef, that 10lbs of grain can feed 100 people. In other words if the world ate like Americans, there can be about 3 billion of us. If the world ate just grain, there can be as many as 22 billion.

  • 1 decade ago

    I don't know how many meals you get out of one cow, I am vegetarian.

    The quoted yield is 7kg grain to 1kg beef.

    Worse than the terrible yield of calories is the amount of water used. It takes 16 Tonnes of water to grow 1kg beef!

    And remember that animal farming is responsible for one-fifth of manmade greenhouse gas emissions. Most tragically, animal farming is also responsible for most of the deforestation that is happening today and deforestation is the number 1 source of manmade greenhouse gases.

    So consuming meat instead of plants (grain, pulses, fruit and veg) uses 7 times as much agricultural resources, many times more water and results in the tragic loss of biodiversity and more climate change than any other manmade cause.

    Not to mention the cruelty. It's enough to make you sick!

    Source(s): http://www.waterfootprint.org/index.php?page=files... Download FAO report, "Livestock's Long Shadow": ftp://ftp.fao.org/docrep/fao/010/A0701E/A0701E00.pdf
  • 1 decade ago

    Kelly L has taken the normal simplistic view as portrayed by vegetarian do-gooders. If the world population was 22 billion, where are we all going to fit? To feed them would require 2.2 billion pounds of grain each time they eat. The only way we can find sufficient agricultural land to grow such enormous quantities would be to clear every bit of available land of trees, bushland etc. I'm sure all the dirty tree-hugging beatniks would agree to that idea!

    If governments around the world, especially the US, stopped wasting money on nonsense like space probes and greed-motivated wars, and used it to develop agricultural and pastoral activities in poorer countries, we wouldn't have so many problems with people starving for lack of facilities to feed themselves.

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  • 1 decade ago

    It takes 7lb of beans to produce 1lb of beef.

    Beef is the worst, chicken is 2:1, I think lamb is 4:1 and pork 5:1

  • 1 decade ago

    Correction:(Further there is approximately 50% loss in butchery yields through wastage. We are talking about dressed weights here, in reality, particularly in the West, many parts of the animal are never eaten by humans, they used to be fed back to the cattle. Even if you accept these (very conservative) figures as dressed weight, there is further loss in cooking (shrinkage). It is very significant.)

    This statement is not true. I am a butcher.

    A typical finished beef will weigh approx 1100lbs live weight. It will yield a dress carcass of approx 715 lbs. This will yield approx 575 lbs of finished meat. The fats are used to make many other valuable products. There is little waste. 575lbs of finished meat can feed an average family of 4 for at least one year.

    For this instance we are talking about smaller family farms. Now the calf will graze on pasture much of its life, not consuming resources other than what nature provides. The calf will be fed supplement grains for approx 120-160 days prior to harvest, along with natural hays and grass, (at least on smaller family farms...not commercial ones).

    Some of these folks are way off base here!

    Just thought I should add the correction. But, in all honesty, the methods of commercial farming are greatly different from the methods of small family farming. Small family farms typically use more "earth friendly" methods, reuse with little waste, utilitze local resources, grow much of their own feeds, etc...

    Source(s): 4th Generation Butcher - Small Family Farmer - Meat Market Retail owner - Farmers' Market Frequenter - Mom of Three!
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    food is more than energy, it must contain other things. If you ate nothing but organic wheat, you'd be in poor heath in a short time. Humans must have proteins. So the exchange of 10 pounds of plant for meat is better than trying to get your protein from just plants. In that case it takes 100 pounds of beans to get 1 pound or protein.

    The highest conversion of plant to meat is the catfish, about 2 to 1. Next is Talapia and shrimp. Pork is just after them.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I see it not as a waste, but as an investment.

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