Late last year the United Nations released a report on livestock and the environment which concluded that livestock production is one of the top contributors to environmental problems on every level, from global down to local. Raising animals for food is a primary cause of land degradation, air pollution, water shortage, water pollution, loss of biodiversity, and not least of all, global warming.
Kathy Freston wrote about this in her column online in The Huffington Post:
Feeding animals for meat, dairy, and egg production requires growing some ten times as much crops as we'd need if we just ate pasta primavera, faux chicken nuggets, and other plant foods. On top of that, we have to transport the animals to slaughterhouses, slaughter them, refrigerate their carcasses, and distribute their flesh all across the country. Producing a calorie of meat protein means burning more than ten times as much fossil fuels--and spewing more than ten times as much heat-trapping carbon dioxide--as does a calorie of plant protein. The researchers found that, when it's all added up, the average American does more to reduce global warming emissions by going vegetarian than by switching to a Prius.
Certainly gives us something to think about.
Want to do something positive for the environment? Try checking out a book on vegetarian cookery to put to use in your own kitchen. Leonardo DiCaprio, cruising Hollywood in his Prius, will have nothing on you.