Animal agriculture requires a huge amount of land to graze and rear animals and to produce the grain to feed them.
Agricultural scientists estimate that eating meat requires four-and-a-half times more land than is necessary for a vegan diet.[i]
The earth’s rainforests and other precious natural areas are being destroyed to provide this space. The Centre for International Foresty Research reports that in just over ten years the Amazon has lost an area of forest twice the size of Portugal. As director general David Kaimowitz stated:
cattle ranchers are making mincemeat out of Brazil’s rainforest.
Without the trees to absorb the greenhouse gases, CO2 and other harmful pollutants are being released into our atmosphere.
- 30% of the earth’s entire surface is used to graze and rear animals
- 33% of global arable land is used to grow crops to feed animals [ii].
In addition, an issue many environmentalists and vegans are concerned about is the palm oil industry, which contributes to large scale environmental devastation and involves killing and displacing hundreds of thousands of wild animals. Find out more about this issue here and here.
What this land could be used for...
- By going vegan, we could use this land to provide food for the planet’s growing population and to help feed the 870 million people suffering from hunger and malnutrition in the world today.
- We could re-wild pasture land and allow forests to regenerate. This would have the potential to mitigate as much as half (or even more) of all anthropogenic greenhouse gases [iii], as well as providing homes for the millions of wildlife displaced and endangered by animal agriculture.
[i] Spedding, C.R.W., ‘Food for the ‘90s: The Impact of Organic Foods and Vegetarianism’, 1990 pp. 231-241
[ii] Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, 2006. [Accessed 14 September 2014]
[iii] Goodhand, R., and Anhang, J., 2009. Livestock and climate change. [pdf] World Watch. [Accessed 16 August 2014]