More protein? PART 2
Of course, the attraction of meat is very high. In China, only in ten years, between 1983 and 1993, the meat consumption has doubled. Currently, the raising of animals consumes 36% of the world production of cereals, while 840 million people find themselves in a state of chronic hunger, and this figure may be increased, if will be used more grain for cows raising.
Specialists believe that grain production will not increase fast enough to meet the needs of the population, as well as those of animals. It is believed that in 2020, every inhabitant of the developing countries will consume 43% more meat than in 1993. This means that in 2020, in the third world, the annual meat consumption will increase from 88 million tonnes to 188 million, which will greatly increase the need for cereals to feed the animals.
But there’s one aspect that usually is not taken into consideration. Because, currently, half the water of rivers of the world is used to irrigate crops of cereals, increasing the rain productions will require extra amounts of water, although even now, many regions of the globe suffer from a chronic lack of water.
David Pimentel of Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, US, calculated that in order to produce 1 kg of potatoes, is needed 500 l of water; 1 kg of wheat, 900 l; 1 kg of corn, 1,400 l; 1 kg of rice, 1900 l; 1 kg of soybean, 2.000 l; 1 kg of chicken, 3,500 l; and 1 kg of beef, 100,000 l. In other words, for 120 g of beef in a hamburger, it’s needed 11 m3 of water, ie 11,000 l. These enormous amounts of water are required especially to get the grains animals aare fed with.
Another calculation shows that a hectare of soybean supplies food per person for 520 days, while a hectare used for raising cows, ie the production of meat, produce adult food for 19 days.
Recently, european countries have resumed the imports of beef from England, after for a while, meat and animal products of any kind could not cross the English Channel, because of the bovine spongiform encephalopathy. Since 1986 autopsies found small holes in the animals brains who suffered from the “mad cow” disease. Under the microscope, the brain looks like a
sponge, and this has given the scientific name ” bovine spongiform encephalopathies. ” The animals, which were previously docile, become irritated or aggressive. Often they lose weight and presented coordination disorder, before dying in few weeks or 6 months.
Bovine spongiform encephalopathy is a fatal disease that canbe transmitted from one animal to another. Mouse, mink, cats, ostrich, deer, moose, puma, pigs, leopards, monkeys, goats, elk, 5-6 more different animals had the disease, when were fed with meat from cows suffering from spongiform encephalitis.
It seems that cows got the disease from sheeps, because, to speed up the development and to increase the milk production, cows received supplements protein in the form of meat or flour made from carcasses and the remains of other animals. Even if these remains were treated with heat, and the temperature was high enough to destroy most pathogens, the causative agent which produce spongiform encephalopathy, PRION, is a protein that resists most varied forms of disinfection. Prions are not destroyed even at temperature higher than 1832 F. In one study, prions have resisted even after a exposure for an hour at a dry temperature of 6512 F, being resistant to frost and dryness too. This is due to the their outstanding composition of thousands of amino acids, but without an genetic material.
Dr. Stanley Prusiner, who received the Nobel Prize for the prion discovery reveals that these are proteins with a similar structure as proteins that occur naturally in the people and animals brain, though differing from them because of their three-dimensional form. When these abnormal protein come into contact with normal proteins in the brain, they can influence threm to take prions three-dimensional shape. This change of form initiates a chain of reactions, resulting in progressive fatal disease, which has no treatment. And something very important: the immune system does not attack the prions.