Spark a conversation with friends and family about meat and dairy impacts - Less Meat More Life - Greenpeace - Less Meat More Life - Greenpeace

Spark a conversation with friends and family about meat and dairy impacts

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11 things everyone should know about industrial meat and dairy

Industrial meat and dairy production impacts our climate, our forests, our water, and our health. Want to share info with friends and family about the problem but don’t know where to start? We’ve got you covered. These eleven facts illustrate the sheer magnitude of the damage caused by industrial animal agriculture.

  • The sheer number of livestock on Earth is mind-boggling. The number of chickens, pigs and cattle slaughtered per capita more than tripled between 1961 and 2009, reaching over ten animals slaughtered for every person on Earth in 2009.
  • Industrial agriculture is a rapidly growing threat to the climate. If we don’t do something, 52% of climate emissions are projected to be from agriculture by 2050, and 70% of those will likely be from livestock.
  • Livestock use a quarter of all land on Earth. Total land used for livestock grazing equates to around 26% of the terrestrial surface of the planet.
  • Poop from industrial meat and dairy is choking oceans and lakes. Industrial livestock is responsible for accelerating growth of dead zones. The number of dead zones has increased by 75% since 1992.
  • The livestock sector contributes as much to climate change as all cars, planes, trains, and boats combined. Livestock emissions account for 14% of greenhouse gas emissions, about the same as the emissions from the whole transport sector.
  • Producing meat can be a real drain on water resources. Beef takes six times more fresh water to produce than lentils and beans, per gram of protein.
  • Processed meat has been classified as potentially causing cancer. In 2015 the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified red meat as ‘probably carcinogenic to humans’ and processed meat as a ‘carcinogenic to humans.’
  • Less meat could mean more food for more people. Science suggests that changing our dietary preferences toward plant-rich diets will reduce environmental costs and feed millions of people with no additional natural resource use.
  • Livestock use a lot of medication. In fact, the routine, extensive and increasing use of antimicrobial products in livestock production is an important challenge for animal and human medicine.
  • Eating more veggies and less meat can be life-saving. We could avoid 5 million deaths a year if the world shifted to healthier diets with more veggies and legumes and less meat. That’s 9 people a minute.

We can do something about all this! We can ask for more plant-based food and less meat in our schools, universities and public canteens. We can demand governments support small-scale ecological farmers instead of subsidising industrial meat companies. We have the power to change our schools, cities, and governments.

Looking for more info? All the above facts came from research for Greenpeace’s livestock vision towards 2050. Read it to find out more:

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