One fourth of the world’s population uses as much as 86% of the non-renewable resources, while consuming one-half of the food.
Animals raised for food require extensive use of fossil fuels (transportation, heating, etc.) – eight times what is needed for grain production. In addition, large amounts of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers are used to grow the feed for these animals. This not only pollutes the land, but humans as well. Approximately 90% of the cropland in the United States alone is losing topsoil at thirteen times the sustainable rate under pressure to produce crops to feed animals.
Animal agriculture results in enormous amounts of water pollution, with some of them producing as much animal waste as an entire city. This results in emissions of methane gas (one of the “greenhouse gases”), which is a major contributor to global warming – a fact almost everyone in authority denies is happening. Methane gas traps 25 times as much heat as the carbon monoxide produced by cars – and 20% of that methane is produced by cattle. Ruminant animals release about 80 million tons of gas each year, just from natural expulsions, while animals in feedlots and farms emit another 35 million tons. Livestock alone accounts for 15-20% of global methane emissions.
In Brazil, grazing cattle are destroying rain forests at an alarming rate in order to meet the lucrative demand of meateaters.
Pesticides have rendered valuable land useless over time and are now lodged in the tissues of people living in every remote part of the world. As a result of environmental contamination, the concentrations of certain pesticides in human breast milk has exceeded the level legally permitted by the EPA. Cancer risk is greater for children as their bodies are much smaller and have a reduced capacity for handling all toxins that enter. One study revealed that American children receive 35% of their entire lifetime alottment of carcinogenic pesticides by the age of 5.
Disposing of waste has become a global concern, but it is seen most dramatically in countries that have a small area but a highly developed farming system, like Holland. There, farms produce 94 million tonnes of manure every year, but their land can absorb only 50 million tonnes. The waste is therefore illegally dumped, producing clouds of ammonia which poison trees and plants, while at the same time encouraging the growth of such unusable plants as nettles and brambles. Ammonia is another primary source of acid rain.
It takes 78 calories of fossil fuel to produce 1 calorie of protein from beef.
One acre of land (2½ acres equals 1 hectare):
a) Can produce enough feed for about 50 pounds of animal protein with only 15% of that available for human consumption.
b) Can feed 20 vegans or 1 meat eater.
c) Can produce enough soybeans to yield about 500 pounds of protein.
d) Can produce enough wheat to meet the protein requirements for one person for 877 days, whereas soybeans would produce enough protein for 2,224 days.
e) Can produce enough food to feed 4 vegans.
f) Can produce (in pounds): potatoes (40,000), onions (40,000), carrots (30,000), tomatoes (50,000), celery (60,000), beef (250).
g) Requires (in gallons of water): tomatoes (23), lettuce (23), potatoes (24), wheat (25), carrots (33), apples (49), eggs (544), chickens (815), pork (1630), beef (5214).
It requires substantially less water and land to produce the protein required by a vegetarian than it does for the meat eater.
It takes less water to produce the food required by a vegan for one year than to produce the food that a meat-eater needs for one month. For the vegetarian, 300 gallons of water per day will meet his needs, while the meat eater requires 2500 gallons of water per day.
On average it takes four pounds (approx. 2 kg.) of grain to produce one pound of beef. Feedlots require more – as much as eight to ten pounds more grain to produce that one edible pound of food.
Six pounds of feed will produce one pound of turkey meat.
For every 100 grams of plant food, only seven grams ends up as meat protein.