A newly released report by the United Nations International Panel for Sustainable Resource Management confirms what PETA and vegans have been saying for a long time: that the production and consumption of meat, fish, and other animal-derived products wreaks havoc on the environment—not to mention the world’s available food supply.
The 112-page report, titled “Assessing the Environmental Impacts of Consumption and Production,” details how the industrial farming of animals—including fish—is among the leading contributors to greenhouse-gas emissions and other forms of high-level environmental destruction.
The following are just a few of the panel’s findings:
- More than half of the world’s crops are grown to feed animals instead of going directly to people.
- Animal agriculture is the leading cause of land use competition, and it’s a close second after crude oil for top contributors to climate change.
- In general, meat and dairy products require more resources and cause higher emissions of greenhouse gases than their plant-based alternatives.
- Fisheries are little better. According to the report, “Overexploitation of resources is clearly associated with this sector, as well as relatively high emissions from industrial fisheries.”
One of the report’s conclusions is nothing short of a worldwide wakeup call: “A substantial reduction of impacts would only be possible with a substantial worldwide diet change, away from animal products.”
The evidence couldn’t be clearer: If you care about animals, your health, or the planet that sustains all of us, your best bet is to go vegan.
This guest post was written by Joe Taksel. Joe has been vegan and active in animal rights for 20 years with a brief “hiatus” in cat rescue. He has been a media writer for PETA since 2001, and his mother went vegetarian at age 78.