14 April, 2024


Ecological Reasons For Moving Away From Meat & Livestock

By Chandre Dharmawardana

Dr. Chandre Dharmawardana

The reasons for the production and consumption of more vegetables, cereals and fruits are  not just  those based on religious considerations, but they are  also over-whelmingly scientific and ecological. Livestock farming requires a huge amount of water and land as pasture. The amount of  agrochemicals  and veterinary chemicals needed also are high, especially with factory farming. The amounts of water etc., needed depend on the climate and other factors. The consumption of insects as protein sources may not face the same ecological objections are for the consumption of meat. 

Hence the push to expand diary farming and meat production in countries like Sri Lanka and 

BanglaDesh in the face of global warming etc., is not very sensible. The production of buffalo milk takes up much less water as the water is put to double use (paddy growing and preventing weeds in paddy plots). The effect of global warming on a tropical island like Sri Lanka, and what it may take to save it from the dire consequences of sea-level rise are discussed in Colombo Telegraph.

 It is also very sobering to note that more than 1/3 of the food produced by  conventional agriculture gets wasted in distribution and production. Meanwhile, 40% of the world lives under famine conditions. large amounts of grain are lost to weevils, bugs and fungus in storage, while this can be safely and very inexpensively eliminated by low level irradiation. This is weaker in intensity than even the cosmic radiation falling daily on our planet, but effective because the right frequency can be chosen to eliminate the fungus and bugs. But “green” zealots who have the support of some politicians  have prevented such simple measures from being adopted. Their propaganda have fanned fear into the mind of the public.

In organic food production (where no preservatives are used in storing grain, fruits, vegetables  etc) the wastage is much more and estimated to be over 60-70 %. However, less than 2% of the world’s food needs are currently produced by organic methods. Hence they make no impact on world hunger, except for their negative impact in their capacity to muster extremely high levels of propaganda and political influence against scientific  agriculture.  There by they  create havoc in the conventional agricultural sector by banning essential agricultural practices, having been misled by misinformation and fake news put out by “internet gurus” like Dr. Mercola who wish to sell books, videos, and alternative food supplements and cures through their websites.

“Organic food” is popular among wealthy elite circles who are also the type of people who eat chocolate and want their steak to be organic!  There are extreme ecological difficulties in pushing organic food  to feed even half the world population. See here

Here are some sobering facts regarding how much water is used in various types food production.

Chocolate                 1 kg 16,000-18,000  litres of water
Beef                          1 kg     15000-20000
lamb Meat                1 kg   10,000-15,000
Pork                          1 kg 5000-8000
Milk                          1 kg       800-1200
Wheat                       1 kg   500-3000
Rice-traditional seeds       1 kg      3000-5000
Rice-new hybrids              1 kg     1000-2000
Sugar                          1 kg      1000-2000
Potatoes                     1 kg     200-400
Tomatoes                    1 kg 200-300
Cabbage                     1 kg      200-300

Rice needs more water than potatoes, but 1/4 the input of agrochemicals. See my research publication:

Environ Geochem Health, published June 23, 2018.

The greenhouse gas emissions from meat and diary production are also correspondingly high, adding extensively to global warming. Organizations like the IME claims that water requirements to meet food demand in 2050 could reach triple the current amount used annually by humans. The only way to handle this is to remove meat from our diet, and create new varieties of grain and crops that need 1/3 less water, using biotechnology.

Meat production requires a much higher amount of water than vegetables. IME state that to produce 1kg of meat requires between 5,000 and 20,000 litres of water whereas to produce 1kg of wheat requires between 500 and 4,000 litres of water.

So eat meat only very sparingly if at all.  

There are also many reasons from a human health point of view to reduce the intake of red meat which has been declared to be a class-I carcinogen by the International Agency for Cancer Research (IARC). The IARC classification indicated a health hazard but not a health risk unless significant amounts are eaten. It is interesting to note that Red meat is  considered to be a factor of at least a hundred more dangerous than glyphosate (herbicide) which has been classified as a class-II carcinogen (i.e., it is not established to be a carcinogen, but there is a probability that it may prove to be a carcinogen on further research). 

Similarly noxious fumes form burning fossil fuels like coal, petroleum etc are also proven carcinogens, but no one is fighting to ban them. The very minsters who talk of a toxin-free world also push to open coal-fired power plants. They also produce particulate dust which provide free a ride to many toxins. Dense vehicular traffic does the same thing.

Cigarette smoking is  proven to be carcinogenic, but the CEOs of the cigarette companies, be it Philip Morris or Ceylon Tobacco, have not been jailed but are they feted, feasted  and honoured; they brush shoulders with the highest in the land!

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Latest comments

  • 1

    What about if all cattle are let to roam in Colombo and other cities like in Indian ..
    Already monkey and dogs have given a lot of trouble .
    A castle will give more trouble.
    India cows are gods..but crafty Indian politicians sectely export meats…
    India is second largest ..
    Meat exporter in the world …your idea Looks solid but economically not viable ..
    It is life circle of world life ..
    Let all cattle roam the world?
    How many people might be killed?..
    How many accidents may take place ?
    How many diseases will spread ?
    Mad cow will come to your homes and houses ..
    Let assumed we ban cow meats in Sri Lanka ..
    Tourists arrival go down ?
    Income will go down to local councils?….
    We are happy to go for your ideas …but today ;
    The majority of Buddhist and Hindus who migrated eat meats now ..

    • 1

      You mean, already a Monk (not monkey) and Gods (not dogs).
      Haven’t you heard of Natha Deyyio )and Nalin de Sivala?

    • 1

      Your argument is weak and not very well thought through …people will not stop eating meat tomorrow ,but as the requirement for meat decreases ,the production of meat would also decrease.Farmers will not produce anything if there is no Morley for it.Therefore your argument that the streets will be overrun by animals is incorrect.Valuable land used in animal production would then be used for alternative food products .With a projected world population of over 11 billion by 2030 we have to be doing something now to prepare for later…if not more countries will starve and mass migration will increase …What is actually required is a reduction in world population of the most destructive animal on this planet ,namely mankind .If we do nothing ,nature will do it for us ,in the form of disease ,drought and war ..The old and the young will die first ,followed by the poorest nation .The volume of meat required is on the increase due to the fact of Chinese affluence ,and their desire to increase meat in their diet .Prepare yourselves now , if not face a huge catastrophe later

  • 2

    Agree with you fully Chandare.

    But is their a way of pumping some glyphosate into these vegetable crops to increase their nutritional value? Are scientists like you working on projects like this?

    If not, you must. Now that glyphosate produces are being litigated out of their underwear, we must be ready with the next step.

    Please don’t forget the other ‘nutrients’ Arsenic and Cadmium. Our people need this heavymetals in their brains to wake up!

    • 0

      Rajarata Goviaya says “Glphosate producers are being litigated out”!!!!!!!!!!!
      He must be dreaming, even during the ban of glyphosate in Sri Lanka engineered by the Raspitin of Sri Lankan Politics, you could by any amount of glyphosate.

      The cheapest places to buy them were in the Northern Peninsula and in the Kalpitiya area., and in other “fishermen’s Vaadiya”. May be they come “duty free” like the cars that MPs import to the country and sell on the black market.

      As for arsenic and cadmium, Dr Jayasumana and his click went about frightening people that there is arsenic in the Rajarata. But when the WHO research team showed that there was no arsenic or cadmium, they switched to glyphosate.
      They should be thankful that they had something to hang on.

  • 0

    Dear Prof,
    You are probably not aware of the lifestyle of the Bedouin Arabs before Allah gave them oil.
    All they had was camels. No rain. A little water from wells. They lived on camel and goat milk, and slaughtered the same animals when meat was needed. The camels and goats could survive a long time without food or water, and could survive on the driest vegetation. Camels would flourish on Salvinia. The Tooth Relic could go in a Camel Perahera.
    We should look into camel farming in SL. They do it in Australia.

    • 2

      LAC3 (rtd) Buddhadasa
      In Australia camels are feral NOT farmed.
      By the way, camels are not bullet-proof and are rather slow.
      Do you have duty-free camels in mind?

      • 1

        “By the way, camels are not bullet-proof and are rather slow.”
        I have seen camel-drivers sleeping on their mounts. It would be such an advantage to parliamentarians.Can you do that even in a bullet-proof BMW , no matter how fast??

    • 0

      Yes, and Mighty Allah has decided that he had enough of the Bedouin Arabs, and gave them oil because he thought that was a good way to damn them.
      From then on the arabs have been fighting each other, while the mighty countries of the world have been robbing them, and bombing them and wreaking havoc, with the help of Israel, Al Kahida, ISIS etc., and a few rich renegade arab leaders who suck the west, like the Kings and Califs who have one virgin every night, eat caviar and red meat and wash them down with the best of champagne while suckin up to the West.
      So don’t talk any more about Arabs. Mighty Allah has made sure that they will be made extinct soon.

  • 6

    Dr. Chandre
    What, no red meat? No dairy products? That means no yogurt, ice-cream, or cakes? What are you up to? Are you trying to starve our poor monks?

    • 4

      Ajay is only thinking of the “poor monks”
      What about the Brahamins and Kururaals who need the Bovine products for every thing, and even cow dung which is sacred.
      What about the Colombo Municipal councilors like Rosy whose bum needs a $6000 leather-cushioned chair which has been temperature controlled so that some delicate parts don’t get too warm while she is eating chocolate.

      • 5

        Rsy Nona
        I don’t think I can ever eat chocolate again after reading your description of how Rosy eats it. Chee … Chee … Chee.!!!

  • 0

    Chandre Dharmawardana
    This ‘moving away/to livestock’ is being hotly debated.
    Is it ethical to recycle the one-sided opinion ~ “Ecological Reasons For Moving Away From Meat & Livestock”.
    By the way, Chandre says ~ “………having been misled by misinformation and fake news put out by “internet gurus” like Dr. Mercola who wish to sell books, videos, and alternative food supplements and cures through their websites………”.
    Sounds libellous. Is it Chandre?

    • 0

      Dr. Mercola has been taken to court for many fraudulent claims and unsubstantiated remedies that he tries to sell on the internet. Just google Mercola, Fraud and see.
      In Sri Lanka too, the Natha Deiyyo click who pushed to ban glyphosate and distrupt the livelihood of Bada-Iringu farmers (Maize farmers) and even the mighty tea planters should also be brought to boo.

  • 1

    Do you know if Ven Ratana eats chocolate? It is said to be an antidote for glyphosate!

  • 2

    The writer has covered livestock farming and organic agriculture and rightly shown the fallacious assumptions underlying those undertakings.
    But what about fish in the ocean. It is surly a diminishing stock. Sri lankan fishermen do not have the deep sea trawlers used by the Spaniards, Portuguese and other countries who come to the Sri lankan oceans and scoupe out much of the fish within Lanka’s 200-mile territorial seas. The Indian fishermen also do the same thing, but again with primitive boats compared to those of the Spanish.
    They use nylon nets that are dragged along the bottom of the ocean and scoupe out everything. The fish that humans can eat are sold, and the rest – tiny fish and bottom marine lie – ALL are converted to fish emal and used as feed for fish farms. The sea bottom and new stocks of fish, fish shoals etc are all destroyed. Sri Lanka cannot do much as these Spanish trawlers are massive powerful ships.
    Just recently the French Fishermen clashed with the British for overfishing scallops.

    What does the Prof say about marine food stocks, and what we should eat when it comes to fish?
    Are there objections to eating even fish owing to over exploitiation? I would imagine so.

    • 1

      “Sri Lanka cannot do much as these Spanish trawlers are massive powerful ships.”

      why can’t the coast guard just blast them out of the water?That is what i would have done.One trawler sunk and never will another come.Problem solved.Next prob please.

      • 0

        Spain and Portugal are in the west considered to be poor nations. No one will give a shit if the Sri Lankan Navy executes UN Law and attacks a foreign ship on its territorial waters. Legally we are covered.

  • 0

    MEat Industry is very rich. How about UN/WHO saying that Read Meat is carcinogenic. Another point is Mcdonal Cattle industry in Brasil clearing 500 Acres per day for cattle s (that is old news).

  • 0

    Coconut one said bad for health a International Agency and now I realized I was wrong , And no dispelling wrong statement false statement against the coconut oil.The coconut oil raise cholesterol more than other fats do. Any thing to much is bad , Like sugar, Good sweating evacuate most body toxic.

    Reference to storage of to avoid wastage.
    Convert the rice to flakes so that storage to increase duration and processing parameters to avoid higher moisture and contamination of seed and grain with fungal organism.

    Water Retension

    China is working in the middle east countries project how to retain water.there view is not cut
    on food intake. They promoting Building of rain water collection harvesting, bands, land use chages
    identification of potential water retention.

    To keep the tobacco leaves long period the apply wax or tar to keep away form insectsbite
    this tar is toxic.

    • 0

      It is most welcome news that Chandare has at last decided to give up the glyphosate battle like many thousands of ‘scientists’ like me.
      This is a good idea because Monsanto does not exist anymore and they will not honour our contracts.
      We should now be looking for meat-based companies to promote, like the growth hormone using chicken industry. That is where the money is.

      • 0

        BohDee is clearly not capable of understanding what Dr. Dharma has said.
        Dr. Dharna says except for their negative impact in their capacity to muster extremely high levels of propaganda and political influence against scientific agriculture. There by they create havoc in the conventional agricultural sector by banning essential agricultural practices,

        Read this simply as:
        except for their negative impact in their capacity to muster extremely high levels of propaganda and political influence against scientific agriculture USING AGROCHEMICALS LIKE GLYPHOSATE. There by they create havoc in the conventional agricultural sector by banning essential agricultural practice like SPRAYING GLYPHOSATE.

        Alos, note Dr. Dharma’s very direct statement: It is interesting to note that Red meat is considered to be a factor of at least a hundred more dangerous than glyphosate (herbicide) which has been classified as a class-II carcinogen

        It is high time that the government lifted even the semblance of a partial ban on glyphosate, because this continues to encourage the blackmarket and the breach of the law. Glyphosate was, and is, available every where through out the island even where it is banned – and that was the saving grace for Sri lankan agriculture in the face of idiots who wanted to ban it.

        There were two doctors who came out in suport of the ban on glyphosate on the basis of the precautionary principle.

        How come they dont ask to apply the “precautionary priciple” and ban all alcoholic drinks because the IARC has declared that they are 100% carcinogenic and hence fall in to category I, where as glyphosate merely falls into category II.

        Today, instead of taking the Hippocratic oath, doctors have become hypocrites.

        • 1

          Edward, your comments suggest that you could be Chandare’s organ grinder monkey.
          You are not Quebec Bodhi’s brother by any chance?
          You are a real weirdo chandare, corrupt at that.

  • 1

    I think too much glyphosate has gone into the brain of this guy boO dEE or what ever name it is.

    What has Monsanto got to do with Sri lankan Glyphosate? Not even 10%.
    Originally the chinnse most of it.
    Today most of Sri lanka’s glyphosate is smuggled into Sri lanka by a company created by the golaya’s of the well-known Athureliya Syndicate who is working so hard to keep glyphosate banned. One of the Ratana Putra recently made several trips to India to keep the imports from Dhanuskodi moving smoothly into Northern Sri Lanka.

    • 1

      Keep spreading stinking lies against anyone who opposes your campaign based on bribes.
      Not long to go Chandare, there are special holes reserved in HELL for you, Edward, Bodhi and others of the same ilk.
      No matter what 80 year old ‘scientists’ like you say, karma follows you, Prepare for the flames of retribution.

      • 0

        How can Sri Lankan Navy attack Spanish or Portuguese ships? Shankar wants to even sink those ships! At the moment Sri lnka holds the moral upper-hand as it is the victim. The moment we sink a ship and kill people by sinking ships, we loose that moral advantage we have. The UNHCR is trying to put in prison even the RnVIru who legitimately destroyed a group of terrorists. There is no UN law against a state defending itself by shooting on sight those who are undermining the jurisdiction of the state. In the US, under the laws enacted after 9/11 such suspected terrorists can be shot at sight. In London the police killed an innocent Peruvian purely on suspicion. But in SL we are pinned down by traitors in the govt.
        Do you think we can even stop the Indians fishing in our waters?
        In fact, while the Northern fishermen come to the south as a matter of routine as the monsoons changes, now Wiggy is trying to prevent the Southern fishermen from going North. Wiggy works hand in glove with the Indians and probably with RAW. So, not only is the local rice bowl destroyed by the likes Ven Ratana and SEMA who are trying to make us eat organic food that Ven. Ratnana gets free from his rich dayakayas, the Mangala Samaraweera Yahapalanaya has handed over the country to the West and the LTTE rump. We are cooked and become food for the west.

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