Beef is one of the most environmentally destructive types of meat that one can eat. Accounting for 30 percent of total meat consumption in the developed world, beef is responsible for 78 percent of the emissions generated from meat consumption.
There are several reasons for this. First, beef production is highly inefficient in terms of resource input versus output. Compared to poultry, pork, soybeans, and rice, beef production requires a significantly larger amount of water to produce the same amount of food. Providing areas for livestock to graze requires the clearing of land, inevitably leading to the elimination of forests.
The fact that grain is fed to cattle also negatively impacts the environment because it requires the use of fossil fuels for transportation; if the grain used to feed cattle were used to feed humans instead, a large amount of emissions would be reduced because it would be going directly to the consumers. The slaughtering, storage, and refrigerated transportation processes involved in beef production also contribute to the industry’s substantial fossil fuel emissions.
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