Nowadays, the planet has a difficult environmental situation – and it is difficult to be an optimist about this. Water and forest resources are being barbarously exploited and every year more and more reduced, greenhouse gas emissions are growing, rare species of animals continue to disappear from the face of the planet. In many poor countries, people are food insecure and about 850 million people go hungry.
The contribution of beef farming to this problem is enormous, it is in fact the main cause of many environmental problems that reduce the standard of living on Earth. For example, this industry produces more greenhouse gases than any other! Considering that, according to sociologists’ forecasts, by 2050 the world’s population will reach 9 billion, the existing problems of animal husbandry will become simply egregious. In fact, they already are. Some emotionally call the cultivation of mammals in the XXI century “for meat” frankly.
We will try to look at this question from the point of view of dry facts:
Most of the land suitable for agriculture (for growing grains, vegetables and fruits!), Is used for beef cattle breeding. Including: 26% of these areas are for grazing livestock that feed on pasture, and 33% for feeding livestock that do not graze grass.
It takes 1 kg of grain to produce 16 kg of meat. The global food budget suffers greatly from this use of grain! Judging by the fact that 850 million people on the planet are starving, this is not the most rational, not the most efficient allocation of resources.
A very small part – only about 30% – of edible grain in developed countries (data for the USA) is used for human food, and 70% goes to feed “meat” animals. These supplies could easily feed the hungry and the dying of hunger. In fact, if people around the world stopped feeding their livestock with human-eating grain, we could feed an additional 4 people (almost 5 times the number of people who are starving today)!
The areas of land given for feeding and grazing of livestock, which will then go to the slaughterhouse, increase every year. To free up new areas, more and more forests are being burned. This imposes a heavy tribute on nature, including the cost of untold billions of animal, insect, and plant lives. Endangered species also suffer. For example, in the United States, grazing threatens 14% of rare and protected species of animals and 33% of rare and protected species of trees and plants.
Beef farming consumes 70% of the world’s water supply! Moreover, only 13 of this water goes to the watering place for “meat” animals (the rest is for technical needs: washing of premises and livestock, etc.).
A person who consumes meat absorbs with such food a large number of potentially harmful “information fingerprints” from the so-called “virtual water” – information from water molecules drunk during their life by an animal that a person has eaten. The number of these often negative prints in meat-eaters significantly exceeds the number of healthy prints from fresh water that a person drinks.
Production of 1 kg of beef requires 1799 liters of water; 1 kg of pork – 576 liters of water; 1 kg of chicken – 468 liters of water. But there are regions on Earth where people vitally need fresh water, we do not have enough of it!
No less “greedy” is the production of meat in terms of the consumption of natural fossil fuels, for which an acute shortage crisis is brewing on our planet in the coming decades (coal, gas, oil). It takes 1 times more fossil fuels to produce 9 “meat” calorie of food (one calorie of animal protein) than to produce 1 calorie of plant food (vegetable protein). Fossil fuel components are generously spent in the manufacture of feed for “meat” animals. For subsequent transportation of meat, fuel is also required. This leads to high fuel consumption and significant harmful emissions into the atmosphere (increases the “carbon miles” of food).
Animals raised for meat produce 130 times more excrement than all humans on the planet!
According to UN estimates, beef farming is responsible for 15.5% of harmful emissions – greenhouse gases – into the atmosphere. And according to, this figure is much higher – at the level of 51%.
Based on materials