What we eat matters -- for our health, animals, and the planet. Did you know that raising animals for food is widely considered by experts to be a leading cause of climate change, pollution and resource depletion? The good news is that one simple way we can each minimize our negative impact on the environment is to leave animals off our plates.

Factory farm chickens

A Warming Planet

“If every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetables and grains … the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off US roads.” – Environmental Defense Fund

The scientific consensus is clear: the Earth is getting warmer – and it’s got a lot to do with us. According to experts, raising and killing animals for food is a leading, and perhaps even the number one cause of global climate change. According to the United Nations, animal agriculture contributes nearly one-fifth (18%) of all human-induced greenhouse gas emissions. And TIME magazine reports that “livestock production may have a bigger impact on the planet than anything else.”

By making more compassionate food choices, we can also leave a lighter footprint on the planet. For example, did you know that switching to a vegan diet is more effective in fighting climate change than swapping in your pickup truck for a fuel-efficient mid-size car? And a lot cheaper than buying a car!

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Depleting Resources

There are currently more than 7 billion people on the planet – that’s twice as many as 50 years ago. We’re already straining our planet’s resources at dangerously unsustainable levels, and it’s predicted that in another 50 years, there’ll be 10 billion of us walking the Earth. Where are our resources going?

Globally, agriculture accounts for about 70% of all freshwater use, and meat production requires, on average, 8 to 10 times as much water as grain production. That’s because it takes significantly more water to grow the crops needed to feed billions of farmed animals compared to eating plants directly – an grossly inefficient process.

Animal agriculture also requires more land – for crop production as well as grazing. In fact, meat production is responsible for 80% of the continuing destruction of the Amazon Rainforest, often referred to as the “lungs of our planet.”

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Manure lagoon

Polluting the Planet

According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, the amount of manure produced on American factory farms is three times greater than the amount of waste produced by Americans. And to make matters worse, unlike human waste that goes through a sewage treatment plant, farmed animal waste is virtually always untreated. It’s often just stored in massive hazardous manure “lagoons” or dispersed on surrounding fields, as shown in the pictures to the left, which can often cause water, land, and air pollution.

These are just some of the reasons the United Nations, implores us that one of the “key actions” to produce more food with less pollution involves “lowering personal consumption of animal protein,” as well as “a shift from animal based protein to plant based protein.”

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Eating Sustainably

“A substantial reduction of impacts [from agriculture] would only be possible with a substantial worldwide diet change, away from animal products.” – United Nations

Every time we sit down to eat, we can stand up for the earth and all of its inhabitants simply by leaving animals off our plates.

Compassion Over Killing’s informative Eating Sustainably brochure is packed with facts about how we can protect the planet with our forks. It features the latest scientific reports on how shifting towards a vegetarian diet is vital for the long-term health of our world. Visit our marketplace to download a free copy or purchase these flyers in bulk.

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