The impact of meat and dairy on the planet
World Vegan Month

The impact of meat and dairy on the planet

The impact of meat and dairy on the planet

Staggeringly, it is estimated that 60% of all mammals on the planet are livestock. With such sobering statistics it’s clear to see the impact meat and dairy is having on our planet.

Greenpeace says that the ‘rapid growth in meat and dairy production has been driven by profit-hungry companies and has led to drastic consequences for our planet’.

Those consequences include the clearance of large areas of grassland and wetland for the grazing of livestock.

One of the most-reported examples of this type of environmental destruction is the clearance of enormous areas of the Amazon rainforest for the creation of fields of soya.


Huge environmental damage

But that’s just the beginning of the destruction of delicate age-old eco-systems.

The loss of trees which help to filter CO2 emissions, the use of artificial fertilisers which release nitrous oxide, and the methane produced by billions of cows are all contributing to the huge environmental damage.


Why is meat so bad for the environment?

Mass-produced meat, or industrial meat, sees meat farmed at an intensive rate to meet demand by supermarkets and fast-food chains.

To keep up with ever-increasing demand, more and more areas of natural environment are being slashed and burned every year in order to farm animals.

This leads to deforestation and forest fires – destroying not only trees, but also millions of animals.

Greenpeace says that by clearing forests, destroying habitats and using toxic pesticides to grow animal food, ‘the industrial meat industry is contributing to the extinction of thousands of species, many of which haven’t even been discovered yet’.


Human rights abuses

In South America, the act of clearing enormous areas of forest has also led to human rights abuses and land-grabbing.

An investigation by Greenpeace Brazil showed that security forces working for a soya producer ‘harassed, detained, abducted and shot members of the traditional geraizeira communities.’


The impact of meat and dairy on the planet: Did you know?

1. More than 25% of the world’s entire land area is used either for farming animals, or growing food for farm animals.

2. Just 1kg of chicken meat takes 3.2kg of crops to produce.

3. To produce just 1kg of intensively farmed edible meat an incredible of crops are needed.

4. Farmed poultry accounts for a staggering 70% of all the planet’s birds.

5.  Animal agriculture is one of the largest drivers of water pollution.


Related reading

Read our blog post about animal cruelty in animal agriculture.

Thinking of going vegan? Read our beginner's guide to Veganuary. 


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The sources used in the writing of this article can be found at:


Farm Forward


The Guardian newspaper

Our World in Data



Please note: This article is for informational purposes only. Eco Natural Products is not responsible for the nature of any external content or third party links.


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