Over two-thirds of the world’s agricultural land is being used to grow feed for livestock according to the Livestock, Environment and Development (LEAD) Initiative. Only 8% is used to grow fruits and vegetables for human consumption. If the world’s population continues to increase the demand for food animals to the extent of the demand in USA, some reliable sources project that we would need eight plant earths to meet the demand for meat.
The Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford report clearly outlined the consequences of increased global meat consumption on the global environment. They reported that importing food animals and exporting food animals has negative effects at both ends. The true costs of animal consumption are not adequately calculated considering the environmental destruction. A good example is Japan where their grain for raising meat comes from the destruction of Brazilian rainforests. If Japan had to use their land to raise the amount of chicken and pig they import, the country would have to devote 50% of their arable land to do so.
Beef, chicken and pigs compete directly with humans for food in factory farm situations. In order to supply the entire industrialized world’s increasing demand for meat, factory farms become a necessary evil and result in the further devastation of earth’s limited resources. Add to that the fact that nitrogen fertilizers are being over-used by 30-60% in intensively managed fields, most of which are growing grains to feed animals, not people. According to National Geographic, animal waste and excess nitrogen fertilizers are pouring into the oceans, causing enormous dead zones where algae and phytoplankton bloom, die, and decompose, using up oxygen and suffocating fish.
Statistics reported by the non-profit environmental group Earth Save:
- “It takes 2,500 gallons of water, 12 pounds of grain, 35 pounds of topsoil and the energy equivalent of one gallon of gasoline to produce one pound of feedlot beef.
- Because of over-consumption of fish, all 17 of the world’s major fishing areas have reached or exceeded their natural limits. One-third of the world’s fish catch is fed directly to livestock.
- 70-80% of US grain production is fed to livestock.
- 5 million acres of rainforest are felled every year in South and Central America alone to create cattle pasture.
- Roughly 20% of all currently threatened and endangered species in the US are harmed by livestock grazing.
- Animal agriculture is a chief contributor to water pollution. America’s farm animals produce 10 times the waste produced by the human population.”
- 40 to 50 Billion animals are slaughtered each year to feed the demand for food animal flesh. Stop for a moment and think about where the animal waste is going from production. Just one example, consider that 10% of a cows weight is blood or about 4.376 gallons.
If you have been thinking that eating fish is healthy and sustainable, think again. Ocean dumping has become a worldwide problem. Over 90% of the large ocean fish have been eliminated by over-fishing and ocean pollution is becoming such a threat that marine conservationists are alarmed. Toxins from the bottom of the ocean are contaminating the fish we eat and are finding their way into our bodies. For more information on this issue, go to http://marinebio.org/oceans/ocean-dumping/
The information available to the public can be overwhelming and confusing. Nevertheless, many of us are working diligently to inform, simplify and spread the word in many different ways and formats to get the right message heard. Even YouTube has powerful videos that are beginning to make an impact on those that are visual learners. A good example is the video: Sustainability and Food Choice: Why Eating Local, “Less” Meat, and Taking Baby Steps Won’t Work at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fws0f9s4Bas. This website will continually post information about the “how to” transition to a Plant-Based Lifestyle and issues impacted by the Standard American Diet (SAD).
Your contribution to the environment by changing to a whole-foods, plant-based, healthy vegan diet:
- Adequate plants and grain to feed the 10 million projected population by 2050.
- Elimination of world hunger.
- Restoration of the world’s oceans to a healthier state.
- Reduction or elimination of animal waste contamination of soil and water.
- Save 50% of the water consumed in the USA that is used to grow grain for cattle now.
- A sustainable world for future generations.