Friday, June 06, 2008

Saving the world from hunger

In 1990, Muamar Gaddafi of Libya made a speech in which he attacked the USA. In it he said half the grains produced by the Americans was fed to cow and 25% of those cows meat is served as food to dogs. That was when he was still on the terrorist list by the USA.

There are demands for people to go vegetarians. But can their pets also go vegetarians as in the USA alone there are more than 162 million dogs and cats, for which their owners have to buy adequate food, including meat. Here some figures about their number in million:

Cat 88.3

Dog 74.8
Equine 13.8

Reptile 13.4

From the same source the cost is staggering. Just for 2008, it is estimated that it will be $43.4 billion when the hungry in the world according to UN chief Ban Ki-moon need US$15 billion to US$20 billion each year to boost food production to combat hunger.

The same figures can proportionately be given about other rich countries in which pets are a must in the household. In the third world countries, such animals have to fetch for their food. In poor countries, the majority of people are vegetarians not out of choice but by necessity as meat there is still very expensive and sometimes it is consumed there in adequate quantity just as a luxury or when there is a special occasion.

Energy is a great worry today because of the lack of the political will and the absence of peace. The Congo River can generate electricity for 500 million people in Africa. But DR Congo first needs peace and stability for the realisation of this project. There are other sources of energy like wind and solar powers, not to forget the other controversial alternative which is nuclear energy.

Feeding the whole world adequately is impeded by political obstacle and the notions of national sovereignty. Sudan, for example has a very fertile land. It can be used to produce food for dry countries in the sub-Saharan region. But this country has the Darfur crisis. Countries on the coast can desalinate sea water for irrigation.

Also as long as there are business interests, it’s unlikely that many producers will accept to offer the quantity of food that can plunge the prices. Currently there are many food producers and dealers who are enriching themselves through the food crisis and “shortage”.

What remains is that each country should have vigorous methods to secure its food. Those who are helpless because of their climatic and geographical conditions should be helped by the rest of the world.


Looney said...

Thanks for putting that in perspective. I hadn't given much thought to the feeding of pets, but the conversion of food into ethanol has been on my mind.

Margot said...

Well, don't forget there are a great number of Moroccans owning both cats and dogs. They have to eat something! Both animals are carnivores, and they do have to have at least some meat.

In America, sadly, much of what is in pet food are the animals killed in animal shelters by lethal injection. Their carcasses are shipped directly to the pet food factories. Animals in shelters who are not claimed or adopted in about 10-14 days are put down. (As you may know, there are no stray animals in America, both to control rabies, and make areas safe for people.)

Margot, in Marrakesh