Meat is hogging the land

Raising meat wastes land – a lot of land. In fact, if everyone shifted to a plant-based diet, we would reduce global land use for agriculture by 75%. This large reduction of agricultural land use would be possible thanks to a reduction in land used for grazing and a much smaller need for land to grow crops. If we combine pastures and cropland for animal feed, almost 75% of all agricultural land is used for meat and dairy production. That 75% translates to a lot of land when one considers that according to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, half of all habitable land is currently used for agriculture.

We could certainly use that extra land for other important things, such as growing more food for the world’s hungry. We could also let the land revert to a natural state, thus improving the ecology as well as acting as a sink for greenhouse gasses. Just as important we could save the lives of billions of farm animals.

Part of the saving of so much land comes from the fact that farm animals function as food factories in reverse. For instance for every 100 calories you feed a cow, you only get 4 calories out as beef. For every 100 grams of protein you feed a cow you only get 10 grams out as beef. So by feeding crops to animals, and using the meat and dairy products they produce to feed humans, we waste

As the world’s population continues to grow we are going to need all the land we can get, grow as much food as we can while reducing greenhouse gas emission and other environmental stressors such as water pollution.