Animal agriculture is the cause of large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions. Globally, it´s about the same level as the entire transport sector. Strangely enough, nobody seems to be talking about it...


Animal agriculture is the cause of large amounts of greenhouse gas emissions. Globally, it´s about the same level as the entire transport sector. Strangely enough, nobody seems to be talking about it...

From the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations:

By 2050, the world's population will likely increase by 35%. To feed that population, crop production will need to double. What can we do to feed the growing population and protect the environment at the same time?

Homepage of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations:

Homepage of the Food and Agriculture OrganizationLearn More

Meat Production and the Environment:

Today, the average inhabitant of the USA consumes 322 grams of meat per person per day – the equivalent of 3 hamburgers. Europeans consume slightly more than 200 grams of meat per day, Chinese consume 160 grams, and Indians only 12 grams. The average meat consumption globally is 115 grams per day (42 kg per year). If we wish to keep GHG emissions down to 2000 levels, the projected 9 billion inhabitants of the world (in 2050) need to each consume no more than 70-90 grams of meat per day.

A reduction in the consumption of meat, especially red meat, could have multiple health benefits. There is evidence of a link between high meat diets and bowel cancer and heart disease (FOE 2010).

Livestock farming also impinges heavily on water supply and biodiversity, as well as climate change. The world is moving towards increasing problems of freshwater shortage, scarcity and depletion. The livestock sector is a key player in increasing water use, and is probably the largest sectoral source of water pollution. It is by far the single largest anthropogenic user of land. Today, 70 percent of previous forested land in the Amazon is occupied by pastures, and feedcrops cover a large part of the remainder. Reflect that the 30 percent of the earth’s land surface devoted to animal agriculture was once a habitat for wildlife!

So, if you eat red meat and dairy products, you may wish to consider reducing their consumption – possibly for your health and certainly for the health of our planet.

Agriculture, through meat production, is one of the main contributors of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). Estimates of animal agriculture’s share of total global GHGs range from 10 to 25 per cent, principally from methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). CH4 is mainly released by the enteric fermentation of ruminants (cows, sheep and goats) and from stored manure, which also emits N2O. Pigs and poultry produce significantly less methane than cattle.

Per capita consumption of meat has grown in recent years, and so has global human population. Thus, the FAO expects that global meat consumption will increase by 65 % within the next 40 years.


We strongly recommend reading Livestock's Long Shadow.

An important report from FAO with a short and clear executive summary.
Headlines from the Executive Summary:
♦ Global importance of the sector
♦ Structural changes and their impact
♦ Land degradation
♦ Atmosphere and climate
♦ Water
♦ Biodiversity
♦ Cross-cutting policy frameworks
Download the summary as PDF:
Livestock's Long ShadowDownload PDF
Go to the homepage of the full report:
Go to the homepage of the full reportDownload is also possible here

Lester R. Brown on The Coming Food Crisis:

In the following movies Lester R. Brown is talking about our fragile food supply system and the probability of a coming food crisis.
A recent comment to the debate:

Posted on Jan 19, 2016 at

In an interview with Gary Francione on TeleSUR, “Days of Revolt” host Chris Hedges and the longtime animal rights activist discuss the impact of the animal agriculture industry on the ecosystem, the issues critics use to challenge veganism and whether being a vegan can be described as a moral choice.

Hedges begins by asking Francione, the co-author of “Eat Like You Care: An Examination of the Morality of Eating Animals,” what he thinks of the CEO of Whole Foods. Hedges describes John Mackey—a professed vegan—as someone who is anti-union, who inflates prices at his chain of high-end health food stores and is a right-wing fixture.

“As a matter of fact, I think John Mackey, in conjunction with groups like PETA and Farm Sanctuary that promote this whole happy exploitation business, are really reactionary and terribly problematic,” Francione says.

“Explain happy exploitation and what you mean by that,” Hedges says.

“Well, happy exploitation is this idea that we can exploit compassionately,” Francione continues. “John Mackey and Whole Foods have this animal welfare ratings system where you have five steps, and you can choose your level of torture that you want to inflict on animals, and you can buy animals that are supposedly tortured less. But that whole idea, which reinforces the idea in people’s minds that we can exploit compassionately, that there is a right way to do the wrong thing, I think is really problematic. I mean, I think we ought to be focusing on use.”

To learn more about some of the issues critics use to challenge veganism, such as veganism as elitism, the lack of access to a vegan diet and whether animal suffering distracts from human suffering, watch the video below: