Pain on Your Plate
Part IV - The Damage to the Environment Caused by Meat-Eating
Pie Chart: Causes of World Deforestation: Meat Eating 70%; All Other 30%

Raising animals for human consumption also effects the health of the planet:

It is responsible for 70% of the loss of the earth's forests.
Pie Chart: Water Usage: Raising Animals 80%; All Other 20%

It uses up 80% of our water. It takes so much water to produce meat that the price of a hamburger would be $35 a pound if the water were not subsidized by the tax-payer.
Pie Chart: Agricultural Land Use in the U.S.: Raising Animals 90%; All Other 10%

Raising animals for meat erodes 5 billion tons of our topsoil a year. 90% of agricultural land in the United States is used for raising animals. That's more than half the total land in the country! Think of all the crops we could grow for people if this land wasn't devoted to fattening up animals for our unhealthy meat habit.
A starving child.

If everyone in the developed world became vegetarian it would be possible to give 4 tons of edible grain to every starving person on earth!

That's important when you remember that 40,000 children die of starvation on this planet every day.

It takes between 10 to 1,000 times more land, water, and energy to feed a meat-eater than it does to feed a vegan.

Eating meat supports world famine.

A plot of land can feed 12 vegetarians or 1 meat-eater

With a given plot of land you can feed 12 people on plants and grains: but only 1 person if the plants are first fed to an animal. Of course you'd also have to toss in a thousand times more water and fuel, and give up a lot of topsoil in the process.

This scheme has been called "a protein factory in reverse," because we put several times more plant-protein into the animals than we get back in meat-protein. To put it another way: the Department of Agriculture has shown that 20,000 pounds of potatoes can be grown on one acre of land. But if instead the land is used to grow cattle-feed less than 165 pounds of meat will be produced.

Cycling our grain through livestock is extremely wasteful. We lose:
  • 90% of its protein
  • 96% of its calories
  • 100% of its fiber
  • 100% of its carbohydrates
While animals are intensively raised in factory-farms in this country, many of the giant animal-abusing companies -- such as Burger King and McDonalds -- have found that it is even more profitable to graze animals in the Central and South American rainforests -- once they've cleared the land.
A bulldozer pulling down trees

"Clearing land" is a euphamism for destroying wild animal habitats and ruining the ecosystem.

Every "quarter-pounder" you eat clears 55 square feet of tropical rainforest!
A chainsaw cutting down a tree

The clearing of the rainforests results in the extinction of a thousand species a year...
Cleared rainforest land

...and dramatically contributes to the greenhouse effect -- with disastrous consequences to the global environment.

Think of that the next time you order a "quarter-pounder". Better yet: don't let there be a next time!
Contents   Prev   Next: Part V -- The Immorality of Meat-Eating
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