Tuesday, July 07, 2015

The bull in the china shop

By courtesy of One Green Planet:

1. The majority of the world’s arable land is dedicated to livestock production. 26% for grazing livestock, 33% for livestock feed. (Worldwatch Institute)

2. We’re using precious land resources to produce food for our food. Not exactly efficient. 16 pounds of grain are used to produce 1 pound of meat. (Global Benefits of Eating Less Meat)

3. Only a small portion of all the grain grown in the U.S. actually goes to feed people. 70% is fed to animals in feedlots. (Global Issues)

4. If we fed these grains to people instead of livestock, it could make a huge dent in world hunger. If all crops used to feed livestock worldwide were redirected for human consumption, we could feed an additional 4 billion hungry people. (Gardeningplaces)

5. As the amount of land needed to grow livestock feed and graze cattle grows, the need to convert forests into agriculture land grows. This comes at a huge cost to native wildlife and plants. In the U.S., livestock grazing has an impact on 14% of threatened and endangered animals and 33% of threatened and endangered plants. (Center for Biological Diversity)

6. Animal agriculture has a similar record for water use. Agriculture uses 70% of the world’s freshwater resources. One-third of that (~23%) is used to grow feed for livestock. (Worldwatch Institute)

7. The bulk of our water footprints comes from “virtual” water in the meat we eat. 1 pound of beef uses 1,799 gallons of water, 1 pound of pork 576 gallons, 1 pound of chicken 468 gallons. (National Geographic)

8. In addition to land and water, fossil fuels are used to produce fertilizers for livestock feed as well as in transportation and processing of animal products. It takes 9 times the amount of fossil fuels to produce 1 calorie of meat than it does to produce 1 calorie of plant protein. (Worldwatch Institute)

9. Then there's other pollution. Animals raised for food produce 130 times more excrement than the entire human population. (Tufts)

10. When you combine the greenhouse gases emitted from fossil fuel use, deforestation, and the animals themselves, animal agriculture has a huge carbon footprint. Global greenhouse gas emission attributed to livestock production: U.N. estimates 14.5%, Worldwatch Institute 51%. (UN FAO, Worldwatch Institute)