The Greenpeace International document released this evening exposes the catastrophic environmental impacts of industrial meat and dairy farming.

“The evidence is in. The world is waking up to the fact that industrial livestock farming is warming the planet, contaminating our rivers, tearing down our forests, and putting our health at risk.” says Gen Toop, Greenpeace’s sustainable agriculture campaigner.

“Polluting industrial farming practices are coming under increasing scrutiny by our international customers. If this is ignored, warns Greenpeace, the imminent consumer shift away from industrial meat and dairy products could present a major threat to our economy.

Left unchecked, the report says agriculture is projected to produce more than half of all global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, 70% of which will come from industrial livestock.

As it stands the livestock farming is responsible for 14 percent of global climate change emissions. As much as all trains, ships, planes and cars put together.

Industrial livestock farming is also a leading cause of deforestation and water contamination worldwide.

“Greenpeace in New Zealand has been campaigning against the industrial farming practices that have taken hold here. These include intensive stocking, the heavy use of big irrigation, synthetic fertilisers, toxic agri-chemicals and imported animal feed. ” says Toop.

“Fortunately, we also have a growing number of meat and dairy farmers in New Zealand  that have reduced their herds and turned their backs on industrial practices – using regenerative farming to work with the environment rather than to its detriment.”

“This report puts those progressive, regenerative farmers in a prime position to take advantage of this new global playing field.”

The bottom line of Greenpeace’s ambitious international campaign aims to halve the world production of meat and dairy by 2050 and put an end to polluting industrial farming practices.

This comes off the back off a growing global chorus calling for a cut in the production and consumption of meat and dairy. The UN Environmental Group, the Food and Agriculture Organisation and the World Wildlife Fund have already made this call.

“The inevitable consumer shift towards less and better meat and dairy is a chance for our Government to unshackle NZ’s economy from its unhealthy dependence on dirty intensive dairy farming and bulk low-value milk powder.”

Greenpeace is urging New Zealand politicians and farming leaders to seize the opportunity.

“In fact, if we don’t diversify NZ agriculture into more plant-based food production and higher-value meat and dairy grown using truly environmentally sound, regenerative farming methods, we’re going to be left behind.”

“The contamination of New Zealand’s rivers from industrial dairying has already attracted international media attention from outlets like The Guardian and Al Jazeera.

“Landcorp the country’s biggest farmer, is one of those seizing the opportunity recently saying “our reality is that we will need fewer animals on our land in the future and more plants,” Toop says

“This transformation in what we grow and how we grow it won’t happen overnight and farmers will need help from the Government, banks and their leadership to change.”

“We can save our rivers, our climate and our forests from destructive industrial livestock farming. The alternative farming methods are there, the markets are there, and the urgency is there. All we need now is the political will to make it happen.”


Link to the Report:

-The main findings direct GHG emissions from the agriculture sector account for 24% of all global emissions, and livestock emissions (including land-use change) account for 14%, which is comparable to the emissions from the whole transport sector

-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. 

-The food system is also responsible for 80% of the deforestation currently taking place in some of the most biodiverse forests remaining on Earth, with livestock and animal feed expansion being the most prominent single driver of this destruction.

-Since 1970, the Earth has lost half of its wildlife but tripled its livestock population. Livestock production now occupies 26% of land on Earth. 

-This year it is expected that 76 billion animals will be slaughtered to satisfy meat and dairy consumption.Changes in human diets towards more plant based foods could reduce around 20-40% of the projected increase in extinction risk by 2060 for medium- and large-bodied species of birds and mammals.