World agriculture produces 17% more calories/person today than it did 30 years ago, despite a 70% population increase, writes a rancher’s daughter in response to a negative piece in her college newspaper.
As the daughter of a cattle rancher and a person of omnivorous tendencies, I found the article “Vegetarianism humane choice” first unreadable, then annoying and, finally, irritating for reasons beyond my initial disgust. After the first few paragraphs, I simply wanted to refute all the arguments made, many of which were based on unfounded evidence.
Indeed, to reinforce my sneaking suspicions about bias and invalid sources, I Google-searched “how much water does it take to produce 1 lb. of beef” and voila. The article’s claims about water consumption and livestock were touted by a number of pro-vegetarianism blogs and websites; that, my friends, is what we call bias.
In order to truly determine the water consumption of, shall we say, beef cattle in direct correlation to their weight gain, one would have to take into account an absurd number of variables, including rainfall for the particular animal’s region, rainfall in the region where the crop is produced, whether or not the crops were produced with irrigation circles, the temperature of the area and so on. However, to deliberate long over the water consumption of cattle and other livestock is trivial, at best; the fact of the matter is the article mistakenly attributes the water consumption of livestock to the starvation of children.