A new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found a staggering 60 percent of all mammals are animals raised for food.
The report titled Biomass Distribution on Earth assessed all life on Earth. The data also revealed that 36 percent of mammals are humans and just 4 percent are wild animals. As for birds, 70 percent are farmed, and a mere 30 percent are wild.
The study delved deeply into how humans impact the planet—for example, humans have caused the loss of 83 percent of all wild mammals since the dawn of civilization.
Ron Milo, a professor at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel who led the study, stated:
I was shocked to find there wasn’t already a comprehensive, holistic estimate of all the different components of biomass. I would hope this gives people a perspective on the very dominant role that humanity now plays on Earth. Our dietary choices have a vast effect on the habitats of animals, plants and other organisms.
This isn’t the first study to find that factory farming negatively impacts wildlife and our planet. In 2016 the World Wildlife Fund and the Zoological Society of London published a report asserting that animal agriculture is causing a mass extinction. The report concluded that animal populations declined by 58 percent between 1970 and 2012, and losses are expected to reach 67 percent by 2020.
Animal agriculture, including land for grazing and growing feed crops, now uses more than one-third of Earth’s landmass. What’s more, the World Bank reports that animal agriculture is culpable for nearly 91 percent of Amazon rainforest destruction.
To make matters worse, animals raised for food produce 7 million pounds of excrement every minute. This waste often pollutes waterways and nearby ecosystems, killing wildlife and destroying habitats. One case in point is the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico, which is the largest dead zone ever recorded.
Furthermore, animal agriculture produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all the cars, planes, and other forms of transportation combined, exacerbating the perilous effects of climate change.
But not only does animal agriculture devastate wildlife and the environment; it causes immense suffering for billions of farmed animals.
Pigs, cows, and chickens at factory farms live tortured lives. They suffer unspeakable cruelties, such as extreme confinement, barbaric mutilations, and horrific deaths.
Fortunately, it’s not too late to take action. We can all withdraw our support from this cruel and destructive industry by ditching meat, dairy, and eggs in favor of healthy, humane alternatives.