When talking about the environmental effects of industrial meat industry, people often refer to a 2006 U.N. report that concluded that cattle was...
When talking about the environmental effects of industrial meat industry, people often refer to a 2006 U.N. report that concluded that cattle was responsible for more greenhouse gases (in carbon dioxide-equivalent terms) than cars.Now we have a slightly more up-to-date source. A new Stanford study is just being released that looks at the environmental impact of the global "livestock revolution." Their conclusion, like the U.N. report, is that the large-scale, industrial production of meat is a huge environmental problem. Here are the "key findings":
More than 1.7 billion animals are used in livestock production worldwide and occupy more than one-fourth of the Earth's land.Production of animal feed consumes about one-third of total arable land.Livestock production accounts for approximately 40 percent of the global agricultural gross domestic product.The livestock sector, including feed production and transport, is responsible for about 18 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.The numbers aren't exactly the same as those in the U.N. report, but the point is. Cutting back on meat-and especially cattle from huge producers-is good for the planet. If you farm your own tilapia, of course, you're in the clear. (It isn't the consumption of meat per se, but the production, that's the problem.)