– Published: 07 May, 2011
Prince Charles has courted controversy by attacking America’s appetite for beef – claiming it is jeopardising the world’s water supply.
In a visit to Washington, he told the Future of Food Conference at Georgetown University that the need for vast amounts of irrigation in industrialised food production was threatening to devour water reserves and deplete the soil, exacerbating climate change.
According to the UN, Americans eat four times as much beef as the international average, and twice as much as Britons.
The Prince, who has long been an advocate of organic farming methods, called for an overhaul of food production to cope with rising world population. Global food demand is expected to rise by 70% by 2050.
He said: “For every pound of beef produced in the industrial system, it takes two thousand gallons of water. That is a lot of water and there is plenty of evidence that the Earth cannot keep up with the demand. We have to develop more sustainable and durable means of food production.”