Yet Another Study Indicates Animal Agriculture is Killing the Planet

956cattle.jpgIn a 2006 report entitled Livestock's Long Shadow, the United Nations condemned animal agriculture as "one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global," stating that raising animals for food contributes more to global climate change than all of the cars, trucks, ships, planes and other forms of transportation combined.

In June 2010, the United Nations declared that a global shift toward a vegan diet is vital to save the world from the most devastating impacts of climate change. Two years earlier, the Pew Charitable Trust's report, Putting Meat on The Table: Industrial Farm Animal Production in America, found that industrial animal agriculture "is not sustainable and presents an unacceptable level of risk to public health and damage to the environment, as well as unnecessary harm to the animals we raise for food."

And now, researchers at Canada's Dalhousie University have concluded that, based on current trends, raising animals for food will push the world near danger levels for global climate change and habitat destruction by the year 2050. The article entitled "Forecasting potential global environmental costs of livestock production 2000-2050" found that, due to population expansion, per capita meat consumption will have to be reduced by as much as 42% by 2050 just to keep environmental damage caused by animal agriculture at current levels.

Animal agriculture is an extremely inefficient and resource-intensive way to produce food for the growing human population. It pollutes our environment, while consuming huge amounts of water, grain, petroleum, pesticides and drugs. But, according to this new report, attempts to make animal agriculture more efficient will not be enough to stave off widespread environmental destruction. "Across the board reductions in per capita consumption of livestock products should ... be a policy priority," the report says.

According to a study released in April 2008, if per capita meat consumption were reduced to mid-20th century levels, the costs of climate change could be reduced by 50%. If simply reducing our meat consumption can have such a dramatic and positive effect on the environment, imagine how much more impact we can have by adopting a healthy and humane vegan lifestyle.