- Livestock production accounts for 18% of the world's greenhouse gas (ghg) emissions, more than all transportation combined.3
- Animal food production uses 11 times as much fossil fuel energy than plant protein production.4
- Twenty percent of all fossil fuels used in the U.S. goes toward food production, including running slaughterhouses and meat processing plants, fertilizer production, water usage, as well as the post-agricultural process of transporting, packaging and storing meat.3
- Methane, a ghg that is 23 times more powerful at trapping heat than CO2, comes mainly from animal agriculture.2 A cow can burp as much as 130 gallons of methane a day!
- A single factory farm housing 5,000 pigs produces the same volume of raw sewage as a town of 20,000 people, however, factory farms are not required to have a sewage treatment plan as towns do despite animal waste being 500 times more concentrated than treated human waste.5
- Much of the 500 million tons of waste generated by animal agriculture is stored in manure "lagoons" which, unregulated by the EPA, often leaks into groundwater.5
- Acres of land needed to produce food for a meat eater: 3-1/4
- Acres of land needed to produce food for a vegan: 1/6
- The deforestation of more than 70 percent of the Amazon rainforest can be attributed to cattle ranching and the growing of crops to fatten cattle (and other animals) before slaughter.3
- 72 percent of grains (wheat, corn, rice, oats and others) in the U.S. are strictly grown for livestock consumption to produce meat, milk and eggs, compared to 11 percent to feed humans.
- Gallons of water needed daily to supply food for a meat-eater: 4,200
- Gallons of water needed daily to supply food for a vegan: 300
- It takes 25 gallons of water to produce a pound of wheat compared to 5,ooo gallons to produce a pound of beef and 990 gallons to produce one gallon of milk.4
- Only one percent of the world's fresh water is drinkable. Of this water, nearly 3/4 of it is used for irrigation-intensive industrial agriculture; 80 percent of U.S. water is used mostly for feeding crops for livestock consumption.1
Even the head of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), Rajendra Pachauri has asked people to eat less meat. "This is something that IPCC was afraid to say earlier, but now we have said it." He went on to say that having a meat-free day every week was the biggest single contribution people could make to curbing climate change in their personal lives.
I do not see how the environmental movement can make critical strides in stopping global warming- or at the very least, slow it down- without addressing the catastrophic impact of factory farming and animal agriculture. The elephant is in the room, and he cannot be ignored!
1Hawthorne, Mark. "Dried Up: Animal agriculture, humans' wasteful habits, and energy production are opening the floodgates for the world's water shortage. Is it too late, or can we turn back the tide on the impending crisis?" VegNews, Jan-Feb 2009.
3"Climate Change: It's What's for Dinner." Food & Water Watch, Nov. 2007.
4"Know Any Meat-Eating 'Environmentalists'?" PETA Animal Times, 2008.
5"Putting Meat on the Table: Industrial Farm Animal Production in America." The Pew Charitable Trust, 2008.