December 21, 2014

Animal agriculture is the most destructive industry on the planet today

Animal agriculture is the most destructive industry on the planet today. Here's why.

Climate Change

Global greenhouse gas emissions:
• 13% due to transport (road, rail, air and sea)
• 51% due to livestock and their byproducts

Livestock is responsible for 65% of nitrous oxide emissions, a greenhouse gas 296× more destructive than CO₂.

A person who follows a vegan diet produces 1/2 as much CO₂ as a meat eater.


1-2 acres (4,000-8,000 m²) of rainforest are cleared every minute.

Animal agriculture is responsible 91% of Amazon destruction.

Area of rainforest cleared:
• palm oil: 105 billion m²
• animal agriculture: 550 billion m²

A person who follows a vegan diet uses 1/11 as much oil as a meat eater.

Species Extinction

110 animal and insect species are lost every day from rainforest destruction.

Animal agriculture is the leading cause of:
• species extinction
• ocean dead zones
• water pollution
• habitat destruction


80.4 million metric tons of fish are pulled from the oceans each year.
(1 metric ton = 1,000 kilograms ≈ 2,200 pounds)

3/4 of the world's fish habitats are exploited.

For every 1 kilogram of fish caught, 5 kilograms of unintended species are caught and discarded as by-kill
(1 kg = 2.2 lb; 5 kg = 11 lb)

Water Use

1 hamburger = 3,000 liters of water = 2 months' showering
(1 liter ≈ 1 quart; 3,000 liters ≈ 800 gallons)

The meat & dairy industry use 1/3 of the earth's fresh water.

USA water use:
• domestic: 5%
• animal agriculture: 55%

A person who follows a vegan diet uses 1/13 as much water as a meat eater.


Waste from a farm of 2,500 dairy cows = waste from a city of 411,000 people.

Every minute, 3.2 million kilograms of excrement is produced by animals raised for food in the USA.
(3.2 million kg ≈ 7 million lb)

Land Use

1/3 of land desertification is due to livestock.

30% of the earth's land is used for livestock.

1.5 acres (6,000 m²) = 16,800 kg (37,000 lb) of plant-based food OR 170 kg (375 lb) of meat

Land needed to feed 1 person for 1 year:
• meat eater: 12,000 m² (3 acres)
• vegan: 675 m² (1/6 of an acre)

A person who follows a vegan diet uses 1/18 as much land as a meat eater.

Click here for nonmetric original by Luke Jones.

See: Cowspiracy references and calculations.