Environment and Sustainability
What does the research say?
Researchers at the University of Oxford found that cutting meat and dairy products from your diet could reduce an individual's carbon footprint from food by up to 73 per cent. If everyone stopped eating meat and dairy, they found that global farmland use could be reduced by 75 per cent, an area equivalent to the size of the US, China, Australia and the EU combined. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that roughly 80 percent of ammonia emissions in the U.S. come from animal waste. A California study found that a single dairy cow emits 19.3 pounds of volatile organic compounds per year, making dairies the most impactful source of the smog-making gases, surpassing trucks and passenger cars.
Livestock raised for food produce 130 times the excrement of the human population, some 87,000 pounds per second (PETA, 2017). The Union of Concerned Scientists notes that 20 tons of livestock manure is produced annually for every U.S. household. Jut one excrement spill, the New River hog waste spill in North Carolina, poured 25 million gallons of excrement and urine into the water, killing an estimated 10 to 14 million fish and closing 364,000 acres of coastal shellfishing beds. Hog waste spills have caused the rapid spread of a virulent microbe called Pfiesteria piscicida, which has killed a billion fish in North Carolina alone.
More than a third of all raw materials and fossil fuels consumed in the U.S. are used in animal production. Producing a single hamburger patty uses enough fuel to drive 20 miles and causes the loss of five times its weight in topsoil. In his book The Food Revolution, John Robbins estimates that “you’d save more water by not eating a pound of California beef than you would by not showering for an entire year.” Because of deforestation to create grazing land, each vegetarian saves an acre of trees per year; vegans can save more.
We are listing a very small sample of the voluminous research and articles in the area of animal agriculture and greenhouse emissions, and environmentalism.