What is the impact of animal production on the planet?

We all have learnt about greenhouse gases at school. There have been lengthy discussions, sometimes even disputes, about global warming. But what is indisputable is that planet Earth should be treated with respect. Animal breeding and animal production constitute one of the major causes of climatic changes and other problems. More information for those who are interested in the topic can be found in the documentary H.O.P.E. In addition to that, we have acquired the following statistics for you:

 

  • A 2018 Oxford University study – which is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet – found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’ as animal farming provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of our farmland.
  • A 2018 Greenpeace report found that “global meat and dairy production and consumption must be cut in half by 2050 to avoid dangerous climate change and keep the Paris Agreement on track. If left unchecked, agriculture is projected to produce 52% of global greenhouse gas emissions in the coming decades, 70% of which will come from meat and dairy.
  • A plant-based diet cuts the use of land by 76% and halves the greenhouse gases and other pollution that are caused by food production.
  • A study published in Environmental Research Letters found that eating a plant-based diet has three times more impact than washing your clothes in cold water; four times more than hang-drying clothes or recycling; and eight times more than upgrading light bulbs.
  • 4 in 5 people are unaware that animal agriculture is a key cause of climate change. Source: Research carried out by Opinion Matters for The Vegan Society between 14 and 16 July 2017 involving a sample of 2,011 UK adults
  • Shopping locally and seasonally is important, but it pales in comparison to the impact you can have by changing what you eat.
  • We can always be more sustainable in our food choices, but an off-the-shelf vegan diet is the most sustainable of all diets.
  • A 2014 Chatham House report stated: “The livestock sector is a major emitter of GHGs … it is unlikely that global temperature rises can be kept below two degrees Celcius in the absence of a radical shift in meat and dairy consumption.”
  • Meat grown using tissue engineering techniques, so-called ‘cultured meat’, could be produced with up to 96% lower greenhouse gas emissions, use 45% less energy, 99% lower land use, and 96% lower water use than conventional meat
  • Three meat companies – JBS, Cargill and Tyson – are estimated to have emitted more greenhouse gases in 2016 than all of France.
  • A 2010 United Nations report said that a global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world from hunger, fuel poverty and the worst impacts of climate change.
  • Henning Steinfeld, Chief of FAO’s Livestock Information and Policy Branch and senior author of United Nations’ Livestock’s Long Shadow report, said in 2006: “Livestock are one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems. Urgent action is required to remedy the situation.”

 

Although this information sounds a bit terrifying, we view it in a positive way. As a journey to improve the environment and, most importantly, to maintain it in a sustainable way. It is very easy to buy less meat and dairy, fewer eggs, or none, indeed, and – as a result – demand for animal products will shrink. A small change for each of us – a big change for planet Earth.

Sincerely yours,

SINEA