01 Nov Meat and the Environment
Going meat free or cutting down your meat intake can significantly benefit the world around you! Here are a few facts on the effects of the growing meat industry on our planet:
More than half of the planet’s global greenhouse-gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture! In order to combat this, the UN have acknowledged that a shift to a vegetarian or vegan diet is needed to help combat climate change.
According to PETA, ‘a single cow used for milk can drink up to 50 gallons of water per day—or twice that amount in hot weather—and it takes 683 gallons of water to produce just 1 gallon of milk. It takes more than 2,400 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of beef. By going vegan, one person can save approximately 219,000 gallons of water a year.’
It takes 20 times less land to feed a vegan that it does to feed a meat eater! This is due to vast land resources being used to grow crops for animal agriculture.
More than 90 percent of the Amazon cleared since 1970 has been used for grazing livestock through the growing of soybeans. Only a very small portion of soybeans grown are used for human consumption, with the majority being used as feed for livestock. The deforestation of the rainforests also accounts for 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Most farmed fish are actually carnivorous and are therefore fed massive quantities of wild-caught fish. Therefore, it takes 3 pounds of wild caught fish to feed one pound of farmed salmon which in turn puts pressure on the already vastly overstretched global fish stocks.
If all Americans went meat free once a week it would be the equivalent of taking 19.2 million cars off the road for a year!
If all South Africans went meat free once a week it would equate to the same as the annual carbon absorbed by 1 000 000 acres of pine forests.
It takes 500 times as much land to produce 1kg of beef as it does 1kg vegetables.
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported that ‘about 25 kilocalories of fossil fuel energy is used to produce 1 kilocalorie of all meat-based protein, as compared with 2.2 kilocalories of fossil fuel input per 1 kilocalorie of grain based protein produced.’
It also states that the meat production industry uses so much energy to produce grain for livestock that if these grains were used to feed people following a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, it could feed about 840 million people.