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The experts say that all the grain that is grown for animal feed contributes to the worsening problem of soil erosion. So if you begin to question your compassion justification for being a vegetarian just think that vegetarianism would help immensely in this regard.
 

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It's a matter of the large percentage of land used to grow grain for animal feed, especially corn, which is extremely damaging to the soil. Of course even if everyone went veggie tomorrow, now the corn will be grown for ethanol, just as damaging to the soil.
 

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"According to the National Corn Growers Association, about eighty percent of all corn grown in the U.S. is consumed by domestic and overseas livestock, poultry, and fish production. The crop is fed as ground grain, silage, high-moisture, and high-oil corn. About 12% of the U.S. corn crop ends up in foods that are either consumed directly (e.g. corn chips) or indirectly (e.g. high fructose corn syrup). It also has a wide array of industrial uses including ethanol, a popular oxygenate in cleaner burning auto fuels."

http://www.epa.gov/agriculture/ag101/cropmajor.html
 
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