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Letters from the week of May 14

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Feature: "Eat It!" April 30

Cow Madness

I am disturbed by the meat industry's justifications while it destroys our environment and causes pain and suffering to animals.

A recent United Nations report, "Livestock's Long Shadow," concludes that eating meat is "one of the ... most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems" and causes 40 percent more greenhouse-gas emissions than all the cars, trucks and planes in the world combined. The U.N. also found that 8 percent of global-warming emissions comes from raising animals for food.

Worldwatch Institute estimates that 1 pound of steak from feedlot-raised cattle costs 5 pounds of grain, 2,500 gallons of water, the energy equivalent of a gallon of gasoline, and about 34 pounds of topsoil. Thirty-three percent of our nation's raw materials and fossil fuels go into livestock versus 2 percent of resources for a vegan diet.

Approximately 5 pounds of grain and 2,500 gallons of water produce 1 pound of meat. Much of this grain is grown in developing countries, where land is used for raising cattle for export to the United States instead of being used to grow staple crops to feed local people directly. In a world where a child starves to death every two seconds, it seems impossible to justify such waste. An acre of land used for grass-fed beef could feed 10 times as many people if used for crops.

About 70 percent of all grain produced in the United States is fed to animals raised for slaughter. The 7 billion livestock animals in the United States consume five times as much grain as is consumed directly by Americans. According to a study at Cornell University, if all the grain currently fed to livestock were consumed directly by people, 800 million people could be fed. This is madness.

Jeff Levine, Kansas City, Missouri

Music: "Barclay's Travels," April 16

God's Work

Thanks so much for the very interesting article that Kyle Koch wrote about Barclay Martin. I really enjoyed reading it and learning more about the film he's working on and the work he's doing in the Philippines. The concert was a big success — thanks for all you did to make readers of The Pitch aware of it.

Anne Canfield, Kansas City, Missouri

Corrections: In recommending the big kite festival Flights of Fancy, our April 16 Night+Day section should have reported that the event was put on by Metropolitan Community College-Longview.

David Martin's May 7 column, "From Hope to Hopeless," stated that Spark Bookhart works as a paid organizer for the city's New Tools initiative. He is a volunteer.

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