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Meat Menace

Animal Product Emissions Rival Oil

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According to data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, three of the world’s largest meat producers, JBS, Cargill and Tyson, emitted more greenhouse gas last year than all of France and nearly as much as the biggest oil companies, such as Exxon, British Petroleum and Shell. Carbon dioxide emissions from raising farmed animals make up about 15 percent of global human-induced emissions, with the biggest offenders being beef and milk production.

The nonprofit environmental organization EcoWatch claims that a pound of beef requires 13 percent more fossil fuel and 15 times more water to produce than a pound of soy. It notes, “There is no such thing as sustainable meat, and plant-based alternatives to meat, dairy and eggs take a mere fraction of the resources to produce as their animal-based counterparts.”

A vegan diet is not just good for the planet, either; it also spares animals misery at factory farms. “Pigs, cows, chickens and other farmed animals suffer horribly. These innocent animals face unthinkable horrors: cruel caged confinement, brutal mutilations and bloody, merciless deaths,” says Joe Loria, communications and content manager at the humanitarian group Mercy for Animals.


This article appears in the July 2018 issue of Natural Awakenings.

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