According to a recent study published in The Lancet, one of the most prestigious and oldest peer-reviewed medical journals, eating a vegan diet has less of an environmental impact than one that includes meat, dairy, and eggs. Much less in fact.
The new study, led by Nicole Blackstone, assessed six categories of environmental impact, including land use, water depletion, climate change, respiratory inorganics, marine water eutrophication, and freshwater eutrophication. Nearly all of the categories were affected by up to 84 percent less by a plant-based diet when compared to one that included animal products.
What’s more, the new research concluded that a vegan diet produces a 42-84 percent lower burden on the environment than a Mediterranean-style diet or the diet recommended by the U.S. government.
This isn’t the first time meat, dairy, and egg production has been found to be unsustainable. A study published last month by researchers at the University of Oxford found that ditching animal products could reduce your food carbon footprint by 73 percent. They 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. Let that sink in.
Similarly, a recent report from Farm Animal Investment Risk and Return found that the meat industry was jeopardizing the Paris climate agreement by failing to properly report its emissions, despite being the single largest contributor to climate change.
The fact is raising animals for food produces more greenhouse gas 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.
There is no such thing as “sustainable” meat. And all the facts prove that 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. From birth to death, these innocent animals are trapped in a nightmare: crated and caged, cut and burned, and brutally killed.
There is no question that climate change is real, and there is no question that raising animals for food is terrible for the planet. Join the millions of people helping protect farmed animals and the planet by switching to a vegan diet.