Animal agriculture takes a devastating toll on the earth. It is an inefficient way of producing food, since feed for farm animals requires land, water, fertilizer, and other resources that could otherwise have been used directly for producing human food.
Animal agriculture’s dependence on higher yields accelerates topsoil erosion on our farmlands, rendering land less productive for crop cultivation, and forcing the conversion of wilderness to grazing and farm lands. (8) Animal waste from massive feedlots and factory farms are a leading cause of pollution in our groundwater and rivers. (9)
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization has linked animal agriculture to a number of other environmental problems, including contamination of aquatic ecosystems, soil, and drinking water by manure, pesticides, and fertilizers; acid rain from ammonia emissions; greenhouse gas production; and depletion of aquifers for irrigation. (10)
In a time when population pressures have become an increasing stress on the environment, there are additional arguments for a vegan diet. The United Nations has reported that a vegan diet can feed many more people than an animal-based diet. For instance, projections have estimated that the 1992 food supply could have fed about 6.3 billion people on a purely vegetarian diet, 4.2 billion people on a 85% vegetarian diet, or 3.2 billion people on a 75% vegetarian diet. (11)