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  • Writer's pictureAshok Kumar Burra

Mathematics and economics of Vegetarian and Meat based diets

Continuing the insights shared in this post, “Is the violence in the vegetarian diet the same as that of meat?” 

we share some insights/ideas about this debatable topic of vegetarianism.

A person is said to be following the Vedic way of life, if he just follows ONE rule – ‘Accept the Truth, Reject the Falsehood’. For that one need to question on everything be it religion or the parents or the society and finally don’t simply believe in certain things just because you were asked to believe.

At the same time the basic human endowments like mind, intellect are directly given by God. We need not join a religious organization to buy and install them in our bodies. Then, why you always need references from religious books when these tools in you can help you in realizing the truth?

It is something like you don’t need to put your hands in every type of fire to understand if the fire burns, when you can simply experiment on a candle and can know the properties of the flame. Or you can simply avoid doing this also, by observing other people doing the same. But the search for the truth doesn’t stop until you are convinced about a thing. And tomorrow if you have a new question, again you continue your exploration until your knowledge grows to a higher level and you get convinced again, with facts in front of you. This is an iterative process and is a continuous process and the very basic idea of development.

All educated and wise people would not get hurt or take any discussion too emotionally. We have to be as scientific, rational and cost conscious as possible. We should evaluate this topic based on the following rules:

  1. We accept the truth and reject falsehood. And truth is something which should not change with a person, place or a time.

  2. No meat eater is with perfect health, so do are the vegetarians. But for the same amount of oil, salt and pepper used, meat causes more harm than vegetables, fruits.

  3. Meat gives a complete protein – a myth. When human body can develop complete protein by itself from eating various things, why should we eat complete protein made outside our body? Most of the corn, soy, wheat, oats, barley, etc are eaten by animals raised for the meat industry as the animals there are force fed. But we don’t find all these stuff in places like India, so many of us have malnutrition.

  4. Killing plants and killing animals is the same – Another myth. There is too much of evidence to prove that wrong.

  5. Vegetarians are holier than Meat eaters only in one aspect of food. That doesn’t make a vegetarian a pious being, higher than a meat eater. At the same time, it the net ‘Karma’ on our heads which decides our fate, not just food though it has its share in determining our net Karma! Considering that two persons are perfectly the same in all other matters except food habits, only then the vegetarian could be a relatively better being.

  6. Even if you consider point-4 is still a fact and not a myth, read the following:

Questions first:

First, if killing a mosquito is the same as killing a chicken or a goat, then how is it different from killing a man for food? If animals would become overpopulated if we don’t kill them, why can’t humans be killed today to avoid poverty? But no religion insisted on killing fellow people, at least for food! Why?

Unless meat is manufactured in a laboratory using the chemicals available, we have to consider the following points as facts. Aren’t they?

  1. A majority of all the butchered animals for meat are herbivorous animals like goat, sheep, etc. There are also few carnivorous animals killed for meat – birds like hen, duck, etc – or sea food like crustaceans or fish, etc.

  2. All meat is derived either from other meat eating animals or herbivorous animals. Finally in the food chain, somewhere (even if in the sea or on earth) there is a herbivorous animal depending on a plant.

  3. All the meat is a product of conversion of materials like oats, barley, grains, grass, water into muscle in the bodies of various animals. And for that, acres of land, minerals, water, time and effort are needed which is nothing but consumption of natural resources.

  4. So we have to chose a method which is more effective, more eco-friendly, more econimical and more non-violent.

Proof now:

Let us say there is a utilization factor UF of 80% for getting useful material (mass in kg) from both the plants and animals. So we have two UFs. 

UFP – Utilisation factor Plants – assuming 80%


UFA – Utilisation factor Animals – assuming 80% though in reality in would be much lesser than UFP.

In reality, all the waste of plants can be almost 100% utilized as manure or as animal feed, but animals bones, carcass, skin, etc aren’t really used to that same extent of the plants utilization, at least in relative comparison. 

So, assigning 80% of UF for both is not correct. However for a vague calculation, let us consider this as follows:

Veg food = Plants killed x UFP = 80% of killed plants. ——- (1)

Meat = Animals killed x UFA = 80% of killed animals. ——- (2)

Applying equation (1) in equation (2), we get

Meat = 80% of killed animals 

= 80% x (useful plant mass converted by animals as meat) 

= 80% x 80% killed plants = 64% of killed plants ———— (3)

Comparing equations (2) and (3), even if we consider Rule-4 as truth and not a myth, meat is more violent than vegetarian food, as more number of living entities are being killed.

Therefore for the same number of plants killed, a vegetarian diet has less wastage and feeds more people. And from the spiritual point of view, a Vegetarian does less violence than a meat-eater! Just think about this!

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