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As Green Monsters, we know there are so many great reasons for ditching animal products. It lowers greenhouse gas emissions, prevents heart disease, reduces cruelty, saves animals and overall is great for us and the planet. We know there is a link between what we have on our plates and the impact on our planet. Now, another study confirms that meat and dairy is destroying the environment.
According to a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, livestock production impacts air and water quality, ocean health, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on regional to global scales. It’s the largest use of land globally, and the worst offender is beef production.
As it turns out, the study found that beef cattle need 28 times more land and 11 times more irrigation water than pork, poultry, eggs or dairy! Beef production requires five times more greenhouse gas emissions and six times as much reactive nitrogen as the average of the other categories than the other livestock categories, according to the study.
Ok, so beef production has a greater environmental impact than the production of other meat and animal products. We knew that, and it’s important to point out that the other animal industries are pretty awful, as well. Just because beef has a worst impact on the planet does not make it “better” than chicken or dairy.
Still, making a choice to eliminate at least some form of animal products in your diet would help make a big difference.
“One can reasonably be an environmentally mindful eater, designing one’s diet with its environmental impact in mind, while not resorting to exclusive reliance on plant food sources,” lead author Prof Gidon Eshel, from Bard College in New York, said to BBC News. “In fact, eliminating beef, and replacing it with relatively efficiency animal-based alternatives such as eggs, can achieve an environmental improvement comparable to switching to plant food source.”
Considering cutting back on your meat consumption? Check out these 10 Meaty Vegan Recipes to Choose if You’re Trying to Eat Less Meat and these 5 Tips to Make Meatless Food Taste Meaty.