The production of meat uses an astronomically higher amount of resources than producing an equivalent quantity of grain. John Robbins, author and advocate for the vegetarian movement, reports that a pound of beef requires 12,000 gallons of water, whereas other crops use at most a few hundred pounds of water per pound of produce.
2500 gallons of water a pound. This is because water is needed to nourish everything in the food chain, including the animal’s feed. As compared to about 2 gallons to produce a pound of potatoes, that’s a heck of a lot of water.
These are both reasonable answers. It may also be worth considering whether the animals are being fed grain (as is the case with most commerical meat production oporerations) or whether the animal is roaming freely. Traditionally, animals were used to turn food that humans cannot eat (such as tree leaves, bushes, bark, grasses, acorns etc) into food items that humans can eat (such as meat, or eggs or dairy). So the numbers provided above are calculated assuming that the animals are being fed grains that are grown using conventional industrial agriculture techniques which are quite water intensive and inefficient.
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