A new study from researchers at the University of Oxford found that ditching animal products could reduce your carbon footprint by up to 73 percent.
Published in Science, this new study is one of the most comprehensive to date. Researchers analyzed the harmful effects animal agriculture has on the planet and reviewed data from nearly 40,000 factory farms in 119 countries.
In addition to greatly reducing your carbon footprint, researchers 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. Let that sink in.
What’s more, the study confirmed that a vegan world would save countless animals, including wildlife, since factory farming is one of the main causes of wildlife extinction.
Lead author of the study Joseph Poore explains:
A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use. It is far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car.
Similarly, a recent report 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, and other farmed animals suffer horribly. From birth to death, these innocent animals are caught in a nightmare: crated and caged, cut and burned, and brutally killed.
Just as there is no question that climate change is real, there is no question that animal agriculture is terrible for the planet. Join the millions of people helping protect farmed animals and the planet by switching to a vegan diet.