“It now seems plain that [veganism is] the only ethical response to what is arguably the world’s most urgent social justice issue [(global famine)]. We stuff ourselves, and the poor get stuffed.”
(George Monbiot, “Why Vegans Were Right All Along”, The Guardian, 24.12.2002)
Although we are reluctant to join only partially Minister Gabriel's remarks: Yes, so-called biofuels are only one factor on the world hunger crisis.
What Gabriel is saying a lot more cowardly: The main reason is rather the failed global economic politics. Institutions such as the WTO, the World Bank, the IMF and the EU, with its export subsidies have succeeded in ruining small-scale structures in many countries, which could have ensured a worldwide distribution of food through regional self-supply.
The resulting famines are now being intensified drastically by factors such as the so-called biofuels (whose catastrophic consequences Gabriel wants to sweep under the carpet) and
particularly by the consumption of animal products - or could be attenuated by their renunciation. Important to mention here is not simply the change of some regions, such as China to more animal food products. No, especially in the countries of the west and the north, the demand has long been absurdly high.
Through the so-called "refinement" (feeding to animals, whereat the major part gets lost) valuable plant calories are being wasted and prices for vegetable commodities uplifted. With animal products can be nourished on the same cultivated area only a fraction people as with plants. Nevertheless, even in times of skyrocketing food prices (and hence the hunger for the regions driven into import dependence) the animal producing agricultural-industry is being boosted and is therefore strongly contributing to the fact, that at the moment over 850 million people suffer from undernourishment.
The FAO (UN Agriculture Organization) has moreover explained in December 2007 that Organic farming could "not nourish six billion people today, and certainly not nine Billion in the year 2050." That is at the most correct when we like the FAO act on the assumption of today's consumption patterns from the global north. Without the huge waste of surface by livestock farming a global organic-vegan-farming, however is very well imaginable.
In short: Moving away from animal consumption is a first necessary condition for an ecological and adequate nutrition for all.
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