Letter: Eat plants

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I couldn't agree more with Roger Houghton about the desirability of organic farming as a means of reducing pollution and enhancing the environment (Letters, 23 March). However, raising meat is not the only way to achieve this. Why would it not be possible to have a totally vegetarian organic agriculture?

Ninety per cent of the vegetable matter fed to farm animals passes straight through with its calorific content intact. The disappearance of grain mountains in the West may be due not to more sensible production strategies but to greater meat consumption in developing countries such as China - they are buying more grain to feed the extra animals. Contrary to Mr Houghton's argument, it is as more people eat more meat that we are likely to see more grain prairie monocultures, not less.

By eating vegetables directly, rather than feeding them to animals, it is possible to envisage a need for substantially less land under cultivation. The remaining land could be returned to its historical state - mixed deciduous woodland.

DA Cosgrove

Macclesfield, Cheshire

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