Issues


Animals - Health - Environment - World Hunger


No matter how you look at it, animal agriculture is an environmental disaster. The UN describes it as “one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global.”(1)

For example...

Land Usage & Deforestation

Jungle burned for agriculture in southern Mexico.

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization...

  • Grazing now occupies 26 percent of the Earth's terrestrial surface.
  • Feed crop production requires about a third of all arable land.
  • Expansion of grazing land for livestock is a key factor in deforestation, especially in Lain America; 70 percent of previously forested land in the Amazon is used as pasture, and feed crops cover a large part of the reminder.(2)

Water Usage

Animal Agriculture is an inefficient use of the earth’s limited water supply...

  • Currently, 15% of all irrigated water on earth is used for livestock production. This number is projected to increase to 50% by 2025.(3)
  • It takes 441 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of beef. It takes 14 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of wheat.(4)
  • According to Ed Ayres of the World Watch Institute, if you "pass up one hamburger, you'll save as much water as you save by taking 40 showers with a low-flow nozzle." (5)

Global Warming

Animal Agriculture is responsible for...

  • 37% of the world’s methane emissions (CH4), which has 23 times more global warming potential than CO2.
  • 65% of the world’s nitrous oxide emissions (N2O), which has 296 times the global warming potential than CO2.
  • 18% of total global greenhouse gas emissions; 40% more than all forms of human transportation- that’s cars, trucks, planes, trains, and ships- combined.(6)

Did you know...?

  • The most current data suggests that a vegan diet contributes 7 times less greenhouse gas emissions than a traditional western diet.(7)
  • According to a recent University of Chicago study, people can reduce more greenhouse gas emissions by becoming vegan than they can by switching to a hybrid electric car. They discovered that eating a vegan diet will eliminate 1.5 tons of CO2 emissions every year; more than the one ton saved by switching from a large sedan to a Toyota Prius.(8)

Sources
1. United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), “Livestock’s Long Shadow”, 391.
2. United Nations FAO, Spotlight 2006, “Livestock Impacts on the Environment”, http://www.fao.org/ag/magazine/0612sp1.htm
3. United Nations FAO, “Livestock’s Long Shadow”: environmental issues and options.
4. L. Beckett & J. W. Oltjen. (1993). Estimation of the water requirement for beef production in the United States. Journal of Animal Science, 71, 818-8268.
5. Ayres, E. (1999, Nov. 8). Will we still eat meat? Time.
6. United Nations FAO, “Livestock’s Long Shadow”, xxi.
7. AFP, “Going veggie can slash your carbon footprint”, August 26, 2008.
8. NewScientist.com, "It's Better to Green Your Diet Than Your Car," 17 Dec. 2005.

Number of animals killed in the world by the meat, dairy and egg industries, since you opened this webpage. This does not include the billions of fish and other aquatic animals killed annually.

Based on 2007 statistics from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations' Global Livestock Production and Health Atlas.

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