Petition 'FOOD vs FEED' to the UN

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An appeal to the United Nations and its agencies to channel available food resources to needy people and not to farm animals.

This petition will be delivered on World Vegetarian Day (1 October 2009) in New York, Rome and Geneva.

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United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

FAO - Director General Dr. Jacques Diouf
WHO - Director General Dr. Margaret Chan

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Dear Mr. Secretary-General,

In 1996, the “Rome Declaration of World Food Security” reaffirmed “the right of everyone to have access to safe and nutritious food“. The signatories also pledged their political will “to eradicate hunger in all countries.”

In 2008, malnutrition and starvation in many parts of the world are not only increasing but are set to reach new peaks of suffering. Dwindling and wasted crops, soaring prices, unsustainable farming practices are just some of the factors which combine to put vulnerable people at life-threatening risks.

It is not acceptable that even in a grim situation with hunger and malnutrition killing nearly six million children each year, huge percentages of available crops are still being fed to farm animals.

In the name of humanity, a responsible global community can no longer afford to invest 7-16 kg of grain or soya beans, up to 15,500 liters of water, and 323 m2 of grazing land in the production of just one kilo of beef for those with the means to pay for it. More accessible and sustainable avenues to secure food for all are desperately needed.

Unfortunately, even though the experts of the FAO consider 'Livestock a major threat to environment', they merely recommend different farming techniques, some of which entail the risk of damaging an already vulnerable environment even more, perhaps beyond repair.

All hungry people, many million of vegetarians and those looking for wholesome alternatives to destructive traditions have the right to expect from decision makers, governments and international bodies a scientific investigation of all available options, including vegetarianism. This resource- and life-saving lifestyle is worthy of unbiased research and promotional effort, not last because of its potential to decide the raging battle of 'food vs feed' in favour of humanity.

For this reason, we appeal to the United Nations and its agencies to stop ignoring vegetarianism and instead study its multi-faceted benefits, with the aim of incorporating them into future strategies for a world without hunger.




  1. Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food …”
  2. Rome Declaration of World Food Security: “We consider it intolerable that more than 800 million people throughout the world, and particularly in developing countries, do not have enough food to meet their basic nutritional needs. This situation is unacceptable.
  3. FAO: Livestock a major threat to environment


  1. Jens Holm: The livestock industry and climate - Over a third of all grain harvested becomes fodder. Is that rational?
  2. Swiss Union for Vegetarianism: The Ecological Consequences of Meat Consumption

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