Scientists estimate that all agriculture is responsible for approximately a quarter of all global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. Animal agriculture is estimated to account for up to 80% of this number.
In the United States alone, there are over 10 billion animals slaughtered for food each year. The average American consumes over 200 pounds of meat every year. The US Department of Agriculture estimated that every American would eat a record high of 222 pounds of meat in 2018. That is over 2 quarter pound burgers every day!
Producing this much meat is resource intensive:
- It requires a huge amount of water. An estimated 1,800 gallons of water go into a single pound of beef. With that much water you could take 105 eight-minute showers a day!
- Animal agriculture takes up land and is a leading cause of deforestation. In 2018, 30 million acres of tropical rainforest were lost. That is 82, 191 a day–the equivalent of 43 football fields a minute!
- According to a study in the journal Science, livestock provide just 18 percent of calories worldwide, but takes up 83 percent of farmland.
- Farm animals also produce unthinkable amounts of manure. US Livestock produce approximately 2 billion tons of manure each year. That is approximately 12 billion pounds of manure, every day. A large portion of this waste is kept in open lagoons, along with bedding, antibiotic residues, and chemicals. This toxic mixture is then sprayed on farm lands across the country as fertilizer.
- Methane, a greenhouse gas, has over 25 times the impact on our planet as carbon dioxide over a 100-year period. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, the largest contributor of methane in the US is livestock and their waste.