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THE FOOD FIX—IT'S NO BULL

The environmental impacts of chicken and eggs versus beef.

  • The environmental cost of beef is 10X that of eggs or poultry.
  • According to a 2014 study, when compared to beef per calorie, the poultry and egg industry on average requires 42X less land, 13X less irrigation water, produces 6X fewer greenhouse gases, and uses 6X less nitrogen fertilizer.*
  • Beef production impacts air and water quality, ocean health, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on regional to global scales, and it is the largest use of land globally.
*Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Aug 2014, 111(33) 11996-12001; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.140218311

THE EXPANSION OF AGRICULTURE HAS BEEN ONE OF HUMANITY'S LARGEST IMPACTS ON THE ENVIRONMENT

There is a highly unequal distribution of land use between livestock and crops for human consumption. If we combine pastures used for grazing with land used to grow crops for animal feed, livestock accounts for 77% of global farming land. While livestock takes up most of the world's agricultural land it only produces 18% of the world's calories and 37% of total protein.

FOOD LAND USE
PER KILOGRAM
Beef (beef herd) 326.21 M²
Beef (dairy herd) 43.24 M²
Eggs 6.27 M²
Poultry 12.22 M²
**According to OurWorldinData.org Data sources: Poore & Nemecek (2018): UN FAQ. UN AQUASTAT-On et, al.(2018)
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