Colin Tudge

Cereal Misdemeanours

Farmageddon: The True Cost of Cheap Meat

By

Bloomsbury 426pp £12.99 order from our bookshop

The pun in Farmageddon is fully justified: agriculture has seriously lost its way and since it sits at the heart of all our lives – and the lives of all other creatures – this places the whole world in danger. Modern farming fails to provide us all with good food, yet this, surely, is its purpose. Almost a billion people worldwide – one in seven – are chronically undernourished, even though we produce enough food for 14 billion – twice what we need now and 50 per cent more than the world will need this century (the UN tells us that the global population should level out at around 10 billion by 2100). But as Philip Lymbery and Isabel Oakeshott point out, about 50 per cent of what’s grown is wasted and about half of the cereal that does pull through (and at least 90 per cent of the world’s soya) is fed to livestock. We could easily produce all the meat that is needed to support the world’s great cuisines if we simply fed the cattle and sheep on grass and browse, which is their natural fare, and fed pigs and poultry on leftovers and surpluses, as was traditional.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Jeremy Clarke on Red and White: An Unquenchable Thirst for Wine by ,
    • 'Englishmen Abroad in the Reign of Henry VIII'. Free lecture by Dr Susan Brigden, Thurs 18 Oct, 6.30pm Europe Hou… ,
    • It 'contains twists and near misses and bit-part players, everything you might expect from a true-crime story'. Ian… ,
    • Oh normally a week or two before the ceremony itself - so mid-November. ,
    • Ian Sansom reviews The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel That Scandalized the World by… ,
    • 'It is hard to think of an economist who could craft such an elegantly readable account of postwar failure as this.… ,
    • Frederick Forsyth reviews The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War by ,