A groundbreaking report from GRAIN and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy analyzes the world’s 35 largest meat and dairy companies and concludes that they’re on track to surpass the oil industry as the world’s biggest polluters.
The report finds that the meat and dairy industries are being secretive about their emissions data and have hardly set any targets to deal with their pollution. In fact, if the meat and dairy industries continue down this dangerous path, the authors of the report caution that the livestock sector could be responsible for a whopping 80 percent of the greenhouse gas budget by 2050.
What’s more, the report reveals that the world’s top five meat and dairy companies are already responsible for more emissions than ExxonMobil, Shell, or BP. Let that sink in for a minute.
There’s no other choice. Meat and dairy production in the countries where the top 35 companies dominate must be significantly reduced. These corporations are pushing for trade agreements that will increase exports and emissions, and they are undermining real climate solutions like agroecology that benefit farmers, workers and consumers.
Similarly, a recent study from researchers at the University of Oxford found that ditching animal products could reduce your carbon footprint by up to 73 percent. The researchers also found that if everyone went vegan, global land use could be reduced by 75 percent. This would be comparable to the size of the United States, China, Australia, and the whole European Union combined.
Another shocking environmental report, this one from Farm Animal Investment Risk and Return, found that the meat industry is jeopardizing the Paris climate agreement by failing to properly report its emissions, despite being the single largest contributor to climate change.
Raising animals for food produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all the cars, planes, and other forms of transportation combined. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, carbon dioxide emissions from raising farmed animals make up about 15 percent of global human-induced emissions, with beef and milk production as the leading culprits. In fact, even without fossil fuels, we will exceed our 565-gigaton CO2e limit by 2030.
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.
But a vegan diet isn’t just good for the planet—it also spares countless animals a lifetime of misery at factory farms. Pigs, cows, chickens, fish, and other farmed animals suffer horribly. From birth to death, these poor animals are caught in a nightmare: cruelly confined, brutally mutilated, and sadistically killed.