US methane emissions from livestock and natural gas are nearly equal, or about 150 billion gallons of each per day. If we could get anyone to take cow farts seriously, reducing methane emissions would create tangible benefits almost immediately.

But cow farts are only part of the problem.

If you visit the website for Cowspiracy, you will be able to see that water consumption, land use, animal waste, ocean stress, rainforest destruction, wildlife destruction, and human economy are, with greenhouse emissions, critical components in the whole picture. The website is periodically updated, and contains links to the research sources for most of the film’s facts. Some high points:


Water Consumption

• Animal agriculture water consumption ranges from 34-76 trillion gallons annually, or 55% of the water consumed in the US. Only 5% of the water consumed in the US is by private homes.

• Worldwide, animal Agriculture is responsible for 20%-33% of all freshwater consumption today.

• Growing feed crops for livestock consumes 56% of water in the US. Agriculture is responsible for 80-90% of US water consumption.

• 2,500 gallons of water are needed to produce 1 pound of beef.

• 1,000 gallons of water are required to produce 1 gallon of milk.

• Almost 900 gallons of water are needed for 1 lb of cheese.


Land Use

• Livestock or livestock feed covers 45% of the earth’s total land, or a third of the earth’s ice-free land.

• Nearly half of the contiguous US is devoted to animal agriculture.

• With the whole of the US aggregated, 2-5 acres of land are used per cow.

• Livestock operations on land have created more than 500 nitrogen-flooded dead zones around the world in our oceans.

• 1/3 of the planet is desertified, with livestock as the leading driver.

• Animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution, and habitat destruction.


Animal Waste

• Every minute, 7 million pounds of excrement are produced by animals raised for food in the US (this doesn’t include the animals raised outside of USDA jurisdiction or in backyards, or the billions of fish raised in aquaculture settings in the US).

• A farm with 2,500 dairy cows produces the same amount of waste as a city of 411,000 people.

• 130 times more animal waste than human waste is produced in the US—1.4 billion tons from the meat industry annually—5 tons of animal waste per person in the US.

• In the U.S. livestock produce 116,000 lbs of waste per second: Dairy Cows, 120lbs of waste per day x 9 million cows; Cattle, 63lbs of waste per day, x 90 million cattle; Pigs, 14lbs. of waste per day, x 67 million pigs; Sheep/Goats. 5lbs of waste per day, x 9 million sheep/goats; Poultry, .25-1 lbs of waste per day, x 9 billion birds.


Ocean Stress

• ¾ of the world’s fisheries are exploited or depleted.

• As many as 2.7 trillion animals—90-100 million tons of fish—are pulled from our oceans each year.

• For every 1 pound of fish caught, up to 5 pounds of unintended marine species—40% (63 billion pounds) of fish caught globally every year—are discarded as by-kill.

• Scientists estimate as many as 650,000 whales, dolphins and seals are killed every year by fishing vessels.

• 40-50 million sharks are killed each year in fishing lines and nets.

• We could see fishless oceans by 2048.


Rainforest Destruction

• Animal agriculture is responsible for up to 91% of Amazon destruction.

• 1-2 acres of rainforest are cleared every second.

• 136 million rainforest acres (214,000 square miles) are cleared for animal agriculture.

• Up to 137 plant, animal and insect species are lost every day due to rainforest destruction.

• 1,100 Land activists have been killed in Brazil in the past 20 years.

• The leading causes of rainforest destruction are livestock and feedcrops.


Wildlife Destruction

• USDA predator killing of wild animals to protect livestock.

• Washington state killed the wedge pack of wolves.

• More wild horses and burros in government holding facilities than are free on the range.

• Ten thousand years ago, 99% of biomass (zoomass) was wild animals. Today, humans and the animals that we raise as food make up 98% of the zoomass.


Human Economy

• World population has grown from 1 billion in 1812 to 7.3 billion in 2015. World Population grows by over 228,000 people every day, and is expected to reach between 8.3 and 10.9 billion by 2050.

• We are currently growing enough food to feed 10 billion people.

• Worldwide, cows drink 45 billion gallons of water and eat 135 billion lbs of food each day; half of all grain is fed to livestock.

• Throughout the world, humans drink 5.2 billion gallons of water and eat 21 billion lbs of food each day.

• US Americans consume 1,825 lbs of food per year, 209 lbs of it meat.

• 82% of starving children live in countries where food is fed to animals, and the animals are eaten by western countries.

• 1.5 acres can produce 37,000 lbs of plant-based food, while the same land van only produce 375 lbs of meat.

• A person who follows a vegan diet produces the equivalent of 50% less carbon dioxide, uses 1/11th oil, 1/13th water, and 1/18th land compared to a meat-lover.

• Each day, a person who eats a vegan diet saves 1,100 gallons of water, 45 lbs of grain, 30 sq ft of forested land, 20 lbs of CO2 equivalent, and one animal’s life.


I have already cut back radically on my meat consumption. I think there are less than 3 lbs of meat and seafood in my refrigerator right now, plus five eggs (and I am fully-stocked for the coming week). This does not include the two quarts of heavy cream for daily use in my coffee, which would be the toughest thing for me to give up. So I won’t be a hypocrite and urge you to do what I’m not yet prepared to do.

But I know the day is coming when I will have to make the tough choice.





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