According to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization’s November, 2006 report, “Livestock’s Long Shadow–Environmental Issues and Options”:
- 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from livestock (more than from transportation).
- 70 percent of previously forested land in the Amazon was cleared to pasture cattle.
- Two-thirds (64 percent) of anthropogenic ammonia emissions, which contribute significantly to acid rain and acidification of ecosystems, come from cattle.
- The livestock sector accounts for over 8 percent of global human water use, while 64 percent of the world’s population will live in water-stressed areas by 2025.
- The world’s largest source of water pollution is believed to be the livestock sector.
- In the United States, livestock are responsible for a third of the loads of nitrogen and phosphorus into freshwater resources.
- Livestock account for about 20 percent of the total terrestrial animal biomass, and the 30 percent of the earth’s land surface that they now pre-empt was once habitat for wildlife, in an era of unprecedented threats to biodiversity.
- These problems will only get worse as meat production is expected to double by 2050.