IS EATING MEAT ENVIROMETNALLΥ FRIENDLY?
From climate change to forest fires and to human rights abuses, the global industrial meat industry leaves a trail of destruction all over the world. Millions of people’s lives depend on a dramatic reduction in the consumption of meat and dairy. And it’s not just red meat that’s the problem.
1. It causes deforestation and forest fires
Industrial meat is the single biggest cause of deforestation globally. In Brazil, farmers are deliberately setting forest fires – like the Amazon rainforest fires you may have seen in the news – to clear space for cattle ranching and to grow industrial animal feed, like soya, for farms back in the UK.
2. It causes climate change
When forests are destroyed to produce industrial meat, billions of tons of carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere, accelerating global warming. The fallen trees are often left to rot on the forest floor or are burned, creating further emissions.
3. It’s increasing the risk of future pandemics like Covid-19
Destroying forests and other wild areas for animal agriculture is a major cause of new infectious diseases. Three quarters of new diseases affecting humans come from animals. Cutting down and burning forests brings wildlife into closer contact with people, enabling deadly viruses to pass from animals to humans. The more forest that is destroyed, the greater the risk of a new pandemic.
4. It’s killing wildlife
By clearing forests, destroying habitats and using toxic pesticides to grow animal food, the industrial meat industry is contributing to the extinction of thousands of species, many of which haven’t even been discovered yet.
Why is eating meat bad for the environment?