More meat threatens the planet

Background - 25 August, 2015
Here is a fact you’ll need to read twice to believe: industrial livestock agriculture - raising cows, pigs and chickens - generates as much greenhouse gas emissions than all cars, trucks and automobiles combined!

More and more of our supporters are telling us they are really concerned about the impact the world's obsession with meat is having on the environment, climate change in particular. Cattle ranchers have clear cut millions of square kilometers of forests for grazing pastures, inhibiting the ability to absorb atmospheric carbon. Corporations can’t build factory farms fast enough to satisfy our appetite for steaks and burgers. Each factory farm crams hundreds of animals into giant cesspools of manure that emit not only carbon dioxide, but the more potent gases of methane and nitrous oxide.

Pound for pound, the comparative impact of methane on climate change is 25 times greater than carbon dioxide over a 100-year period. This is its Global Warming Potential. Together, we must become more meat aware and adjust our diets. When we add more plants and alternative proteins to our diets, we begin healing the planet.

Hail accompanying a tornado near Fort Dodge, Iowa, USA. 11 Jun, 2004 © Greenpeace / Daniel Beltrá

Facts You Should Know

  • The livestock sector, especially beef, accounts for 14% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, which is roughly equivalent to the greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector.

  • 75% of agriculture land is devoted to raising animals.

  • According to WRI, cattle enterprises are responsible for up to 80% of Amazon deforestation.

  • Livestock is the most significant contributor to nitrogen and phosphorus pollution of streams, rivers and coastal waters worldwide

What You Can Do

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