Worldwide, the farming of animals for human consumption produces more greenhouse gas emissions than the world’s entire transport system. In fact, 9% of global human CO2 emissions are caused by the livestock sector.
Nitrous oxide is almost 300 times as damaging to the climate as carbon dioxide with 65% of the total quantity produced by human activity coming from livestock
30% percent of the earth’s entire land surface –70% of all agricultural land – is used for rearing farmed animals. In a world in which people are starving, around 33% of global cereal production, and 90% of soya is used for animal feed. In the UK alone, livestock consume more than 50% of the cereal grown. This land would be used more effectively to grow food directly for human consumption.
Much of the land not used for crops to feed livestock is used to graze them. One way or another, livestock production is responsible for 70% of the Amazon deforestation in Latin America, where the rainforest has been cleared to create new pastures or to grow feed or for grazing.
Food manufacture is one of the most water intensive activities in the world. It takes far less water to produce plants than meat. A vegetarian diet helps to decrease water consumption and pollution.
And fish? Whether it’s farmed or caught in the wild, eating fish causes significant damage to wildlife and the oceans. Of course, responsibly sourced fish is better than otherwise, but be careful with farmed fish, which places immense demands on the environment.