Before I became vegan I had absolutely no idea how much animal agriculture production affected our environment. “Animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation, water consumption and pollution, is responsible for more greenhouse gases than the transportation industry, and is a primary driver of rainforest destruction, species extinction, habitat loss, topsoil erosion, ocean “dead zones,” and virtually every other environmental ill. Yet it goes on, almost entirely unchallenged” (Cowspiracy, 2015).
Cowspiracy was one of the documentaries that really educated me on this issue, and I highly suggest you all watch it, afterall, it’s the very thing we need in order to survive.
Some facts that I got from this documentary are:
Animal agriculture is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, more than the combined exhaust from all transportation
Livestock and their byproducts account for at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, or 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions
Livestock is responsible for 65% of all human-related emissions of nitrous oxide – a greenhouse gas with 296 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide, and which stays in the atmosphere for 150 years
US Methane emissions from livestock and natural gas are nearly equal
Animal agriculture water consumption ranges from 34-76 trillion gallons annually
2,500 gallons of water are needed to produce 1 pound of beef
477 gallons of water are required to produce 1lb. of eggs; almost 900 gallons of water are needed for 1lb. of cheese
1,000 gallons of water are required to produce 1 gallon of milk
Animal Agriculture is responsible for 20%-33% of all fresh water consumption in the world today
Animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution, and habitat destruction
Livestock covers 45% of the earth’s total land
Livestock operations on land have created more than 500 nitrogen flooded deadzones around the world in our oceans
2-5 acres of land are used per cow
Every minute, 7 million pounds of excrement are produced by animals raised for food in the US alone
A farm with 2,500 dairy cows produces the same amount of waste as a city of 411,000 people
In the U.S. alone livestock produce 116,000 lbs of waste per second
3/4 of the world’s fisheries are exploited or depleted
We could see fishless oceans by 2048
90-100 million tons of fish are pulled from our oceans each year
For every 1 pound of fish caught, up to 5 pounds of unintended marine species are caught and discarded as by-kill
Scientists estimate as many as 650,000 whales, dolphins and seals are killed every year by fishing vessels
40-50 million sharks killed in fishing lines and nets
Animal agriculture is responsible for up to 91% of Amazon destruction
1-2 acres of rainforest are cleared every second
26 million rainforest acres (10.8m hectares) have been cleared for palm oil production
USDA predator killing of wild animals to protect livestock, this includes coyotes, wild horses, wolves etc.
More wild horses and burros in government holding facilities than are free on the range.
Ten thousand years ago, 99% of biomass (i.e. zoomass) was wild animals. Today, humans and the animals that we raise as food make up 98% of the zoomass.
Isn’t it crazy that we kill millions of animals to protect animals so that we can kill those too and eat them?
Want to know more? Cowspiracy’s webpage is loaded with more facts as well as all of these individual facts resources, click here to check it out.
Land required to feed 1 person for 1 year:
Vegan: 1/6th acre
Vegetarian: 3x as much as a vegan
Meat Eater: 18x as much as a vegan
1.5 acres can produce 37,000 pounds of plant-based food.
1.5 acres can produce 375 pounds of meat.
A person who follows a vegan diet produces the equivalent of 50% less carbon dioxide, uses 1/11th oil, 1/13th water, and 1/18th land compared to a meat-lover for their food.