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More Proof of Link Between Livestock and Global Warming

You may recall that a while back I had a beef with the folks at, in addition to Al Gore, Laurie David, and everyone else involved with An Inconvenient Truth (and the people at My beef is that at no point do these well-meaning experts mention the most important thing anyone can do to combat global warming: stop eating meat. (Download University_of_Chicago_study for the details).

The new issue of Arkangel reports that yet another study, this time by the United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO), called Livestock’s Long Shadow-Environmental Issues and Options, says, among other things, that:

  • Livestock production is responsible for:
    • more climate change gasses than all the motor vehicles in the world;
    • 70% of the Amazon deforestation;
    • and 64% of all the acid rain-producing ammonia.
  • 15 out of the 24 vast global ecosystems that are in decline can blame livestock.
  • Livestock use 30% of the earth’s land surface, including 33% of the global arable land.
  • The livestock business is among the most damaging sectors to the earth’s increasingly scarce water resources.

The funny thing about the FAOs study, is that it mentions remedies including soil conservation, exclusion of livestock from sensitive areas, improving the efficiency of irrigation systems, and increasing the efficiency of livestock production (uh-oh). Oddly, enough, although it says that "The environmental costs per unit of livestock production must be cut in half, just to avoid the level of damage worsening beyond its present level," it doesn’t say "If we ate half as much meat we could cut the environmental damage in half."

(Say it with me, people: Supply and demand.)

Ah, but it does say: "The global livestock sector . . . provides livelihoods to about 1.3 billion people and contributes about 40% to global agricultural output. And that, my friends, is all you need to know.

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