According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, livestock has a significant impact on the environment, evidenced by extensive research and data collection. First, just raising cattle requires vast natural resources, including land and water, which are becoming increasingly degraded and scarce around the world. Second, cattle contribute to pollution through animal wastes, antibiotics and hormones, chemicals from fertilizers and pesticides, and sediments from eroded pastures. Third, their burps and gas contain methane, a potent greenhouse gas. In fact, cattle, along with other grazing animals such as lamb and dairy cows, contribute 40% of the environment’s methane.
Producing one serving of beef releases more CO2 and methane, and uses more land and water, than poultry, eggs, beans, and nuts, other high-quality protein sources.
A recent EPA inventory reported that beef cattle account for 71% of methane emissions while dairy cattle account for another 24%.
Just One Thing to do: Reduce your beef intake to one (3 ounce) serving a week. Replace with plant-based proteins such as beans, peas, lentils and nuts, as well as lower impact animal products like chicken, turkey and eggs.