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Why become vegan? (four big reasons)

2. Ensure sane use of the planet's resources

In a world where a sixth of the population doesn’t have enough food, I think it’s madness that we use our capacity for growing plants to feed animals so that some of us can eat meat that we don’t need to survive.

  • Animal agriculture takes up over 2/3 of agricultural land
  • A varied vegan diet uses 1/3 of the land used to provide a typical meat and dairy diet
  • It takes 211,000 pints of water to produce a pound of beef, versus 2,113 pints of water to produce a pound of wheat
  • Animal industries account for the biggest use of the planet’s water supply, 70% of what's available. In third world countries this may be as high as 85 to 95% and accounts for a massive 93% of all water depletion
  • It takes 20 to 30 gallons of water to produce a pound of vegetables, but 441 gallons to produce one pound of beef
  • Factory farming uses 70% of the world’s agricultural land for grazing or growing plants for food animals to eat
  • 10 hectares of land could either provide enough meat to feed two people, or enough maize to feed 10. Wheat and other grains feed 24, or 61 fed with soya
  • On average 10g of vegetable protein is needed to produce 1g of animal protein

Producing meat represents a very inefficient use of resources in terms of the calories provided by the end product. If resources were directed to growing plant foods we could feed everyone. Meat production is unsustainable now, but makes even less sense as the human population continues to explode. Something’s got to give.

Thanks to Viva!’s ‘Planet on a plate’ publication for many of the above facts. Several other sources also informed this section. Get in touch if you'd like any references.