Low-Meat Diet

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Meat is resource-intensive, and we grow way too much of it. Eat less of it.

Economic Impacts[edit]


Resources for Meat Production[edit]

Energy Requirements[edit]

How much energy necessary to make a calorie of meat vs a calorie of vegetables?

via: http://www.worldwatch.org/node/549 "It takes, on average, 28 calories of fossil fuel energy to produce 1 calorie of meat protein for human consumption, [whereas] it takes only 3.3 calories of fossil- fuel energy to produce 1 calorie of protein from grain for human consumption."

via: http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/meat-wastes-natural-resources/

"It takes more than 11 times as much fossil fuel to make one calorie from animal protein as it does to make one calorie from plant protein."

"It takes more than 2,400 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of meat, while growing 1 pound of wheat only requires 25 gallons."

via: http://michaelbluejay.com/veg/environment.html

vegetables: 25-50 gallons/lb
chicken: 800 gallons/lb
pork: 1600 gallons/lb
beef: 5200 gallons/lb

land use: ~15-20x

via: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/78/3/660S.full

"The US food production system uses about 50% of the total US land area, 80% of the fresh water, and 17% of the fossil energy used in the country."

"The average fossil energy input for all the animal protein production systems studied is 25 kcal fossil energy input per 1 kcal of protein produced (Table 2⇑). This energy input is more than 11 times greater than that for grain protein production, which is about 2.2 kcal of fossil energy input per 1 kcal of plant protein produced (Table 4⇓)."


Agricultural production, including livestock production, consumes more fresh water than any other activity in the United States. Western agricultural irrigation accounts for 85% of the fresh water consumed (29). The water required to produce various foods and forage crops ranges from 500 to 2000 L of water per kilogram of crop produced.

Producing 1 kg of animal protein requires about 100 times more water than producing 1 kg of grain protein (8). Livestock directly uses only 1.3% of the total water used in agriculture. However, when the water required for forage and grain production is included, the water requirements for livestock production dramatically increase. For example, producing 1 kg of fresh beef may require about 13 kg of grain and 30 kg of hay (17). This much forage and grain requires about 100 000 L of water to produce the 100 kg of hay, and 5400 L for the 4 kg of grain. On rangeland for forage production, more than 200 000 L of water are needed to produce 1 kg of beef (30). Animals vary in the amounts of water required for their production. In contrast to beef, 1 kg of broiler can be produced with about 2.3 kg of grain requiring approximately 3500 L of water.

via: http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/1313020?uid=3739824&uid=2&uid=4&uid=3739256&sid=21103324142291

Land Usage[edit]

What percentage of the US land area is dedicated to raising animals for meat?