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The first banner is an ideological slogan that calls on Chinese people to build a socialist state. The Great Leap Forward, initiated by Mao in , aims to transfer China into an industrialized country. More immediately, he said steel production should be two times what it was the year before.
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Production went way up:. On Aug. These exaggerations were ultimately deadly for farmers and workers. Under a state compulsory purchase policy initiated at the end of , all farmers had to sell their grain to the government, and then the government supplied the grains back to the people. The document was destroyed after Zhou read it, Zhou Boping, deputy food minister, told Yang in , and the numbers in it were never revealed.
Still, the official public data show a spike in deaths:.
The Famine of 1946-1947
Many more died at the hands of Communist Party officials. Using the same methodology, he calculated the population that failed to be born during the same period at The 20 million total deaths, when calculated by provincial statistics, is higher than the one calculated by state figures, showing discrepancies in data collecting.
Regions with higher state compulsory purchases of grain but lower re-sales to the public had higher deaths, Yang wrote. Those include Anhui, Shandong, Henan, and Sichuan.
The problem is, our meat-based diet means that land, water, and other resources that could be used to grow food for human beings are being used to grow crops for farmed animals instead. According to a report by Compassion in World Farming, "Currently, one third of the world's cereal crop goes to feed the 60 billion farm animals reared every year to produce meat, eggs and dairy products - the majority of them on factory farms. While millions die, one third of the world's grain production is fed to farmed animals in developed countries.
In order to meet the huge demand for meat and dairy, billions of animals are kept in confinement on factory farms, in cramped, filthy conditions. Not allowed to feed outdoors naturally, they are fed grain, soya, oil seeds, and fish meal. The high quality land used to grow soy to feed animals could be used instead to grow crops for human consumption. In , when thousands of Ethiopians were dying weekly from famine, their rulers continued growing and shipping millions of dollars worth of livestock grains to the UK and other European nations.
The growing consumption of meat, poultry and dairy products has created an explosion in livestock populations worldwide.
The Irish Famine: Peel's Relief Programme to July
In fact, livestock now outnumbers humans by almost three to one. In the last 40 years, the number of cattle has doubled and the fowl population has trebled. The meat and dairy industry is also putting a huge strain on our water supply. It was stated during World Water Week that the growth in demand for meat and dairy products is unsustainable. Animals need much more water than grain to produce the same amount of food, and ending malnutrition and feeding even more mouths will take still more water.
If everyone ate a vegetarian diet, or better still, a vegan diet there would be enough food for everyone. The only sane way forward is to grow food for humans rather than to feed it to farmed animals. But no one proposed a convincing way to alleviate world hunger.
Walt Willett, professor of medicine at Harvard University and author of Eat, Drink and Weigh Less, offers this simple solution: "If we changed the way we ate, modifying what we eat, we could practically end the global food crisis, since eating more crops and much less red meat would free up resources to feed the world. Yet a staggering million tons of grain will be used to feed farmed animals this year compared to million tons used to produce fuel.
The demand for meat is rising continually and has been especially dramatic in developing countries.