This was posted today over at the blog “What If?” and while interesting in it’s own geeky way, I though it makes quite a strong argument for eating meat.
If cows could photosynthesize, how much less food would they need?
If you saw the world’s cattle population in silhouette, they’d have an overall cross-sectional area of about two thousand square kilometers. By contrast, about 3% of the world’s surface area is cultivated, which means that (given rough estimates of geographic distribution of farmland) our crops easily intercept over a thousand times more sunlight than our cattle—which is why grazing is a good strategy.
Veganisim seems to me to be quite a first-world problem. Sure, we could grow lots of vegetables and tofu if we cultivated all the millions of acres of pasture land that we currently graze in this country, but who’s going to do all the work? We’re already facing a shortage of farmers. Since we don’t have enough farmers to do all the work, we use some yummy animals to help us harvest some of that solar energy.