Did You Know?

Did you know…..

Broiler chickens are often drugged and genetically manipulated to grow extremely large, extremely quickly, and as a result they often cannot support their unnatural weight – their legs remain malformed or break.  Their hearts and lungs cannot keep up with the unnaturally rapid growth, and many die of heart or lung failure.  (The Veganist, by Kathy Freston)

Cattle often have their horns ripped out, are castrated and branded without painkillers, and end up standing in their own filth for months before they’re slaughtered.  Because the rate of kills is typically up to 400 animals per hour, the line is not stopped if the stun gun is not effective – thus, animals may be dismembered while still alive.  (The Veganist, by Kathy Freston)

The amount of water used for livestock and irrigating feed crops –  240 trillion gallons per day – 7.5 million gallons per second – that’s enough for every human to take eight showers a day, or as much as used each day by Europe, Africa, and South America combined.

To date, probably the most reliable and widely-accepted water estimate to produce a pound of beef is the figure of 2,500 gallons/pound. Newsweek once put it another way: “the water that goes into a 1,000 pound steer would float a destroyer.”

If every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetarian foods instead, the carbon dioxide savings would be the same as taking more than half a million cars off U.S. roads.

It takes more than ten times as much fossil fuel to make one calorie of animal protein as it does to make one calorie of plant protein.  (This one blew me away!)

If everyone went vegetarian for just one day, the U.S. would save:

  • 100 billion gallons of water, enough to supply all the homes in New England for almost 4 months
  • 1.5 billion pounds of crops otherwise fed to livestock, enough to feed the state of New Mexico for more than a year
  • 70 million gallons of gas – enough to fuel all the cars of Canada and Mexico combined with plenty to spare
  • 3 million acres of land, an area more than twice the size of Delaware
  • 33 tons of antibiotics

If everyone went vegetarian for just one day, the U.S. would prevent:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 1.2 million tons of CO2, as much as is produced by all of France in a single day
  • 3 million tons of soil erosion and $70 million in resulting economic damages
  • 4.5 million tons of animal excrement
  • Almost 7 tons of ammonia emissions, a major air pollutant
Former Amazon rainforest converted to raising animals for food since 1970 amounts to more than 90 percent of all Amazon deforestation since 1970.

Sources:  “Livestock’s Long Shadow” (United Nations), the World Bank, and calculations of Noam Mohr, a physicist at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University.  The Veganist, by Kathy Freston.


6 comments on “Did You Know?

  1. I don’t know if I can go completely vegetarian again (I did in my 20’s) but I have cut way down, and I HAVE gone a day every week or so, without any meat. I am feeling healthier for it and clear-headed…. most of the time. But that’s not the meat’s fault! : )

    • Good for you, Mary! You can see in “Did You Know” what an impact just one day on a plant-based diet can do for the planet, and it’s great you’re feeling healthier and clearer! I love Kathy Freston’s encouragement to “lean” in to a plant-based diet. It’s a process and a journey! Blessings to you….

  2. Pretty eye opening figures!

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