‘Farmers call for Truss and Sunak to tackle ‘immoral’ water wastage’

This headline caught my attention today and my fire – ‘farmers calling for an end to immoral water wastage’.  I’m like what?

It reminds me of Trump’s use of ‘fake news’ – a bold piece of misdirection or simply taking lack of self awareness to new levels…

The headline is from an NFU press release, running unchecked apparently in today’s Guardian, where critical thinking seems increasingly absent.

There is no explanation of where this immoral waste is taking place?  

But I can help with that.  It’s in the numbers, as always… and it’s rather close to home for the NFU and it’s chief, Minette Batters, a farmer of beef…

To make a single quarter pound beef burger requires 2,400 litres of water. 

That’s 2.4 tonnes of water for a burger weighing around 120 grams. That’s an immoral waste of water, especially if you factor in the abuse of animal farming.

But rather than identify beef as probably the most water intensive farm product known to mankind and at risk from the drought that’s happening in Britain right now – Minette instead talks about the water needs of potatoes and other plants… It’s a massive misdirection. The stats give the lie to this approach.

Per kilo – Potatoes need 287 litres of water and Beef needs 15,415 litres…

Call it 300 versus 15,000 and you can see that Beef is 50 times worse for water consumption, pound for pound – than Potatoes.

Potatoes are not the problem, clearly.  

Consider milk too – to produce a single litre of cow milk takes 628 litres of water…! 

More than half a tonne…

Average household daily water use is 350 litres in case you wondered – half what it takes to make just two pints of milk. 

We have alternatives – one litre of oat milk requires just 48 litres of water.   And of course no animals are harmed in the process.

Animal farming is the most incredibly inefficient way to feed ourselves, this much we know.  We can free 75% of all British farm land if we stop eating animals (study by Oxford Uni) that’s how inefficient it is in land use terms.

It also drives the climate crisis, the wildlife crisis, multiple human health crises –  and if we look at the numbers behind the misdirection – it’s driving our water crisis too.  Or increasingly will as droughts become the new normal state of affairs.

The answer to all of our problems is to stop using fossil fuels and to stop animal farming. It really is that easy.