Less is more

Reducing meat and dairy for a healthier life and planet

Professor Pete Smith

The component of the food system that has the largest single impact, is the production of livestock to provide products for human consumption. In addition to the large areas of land that livestock use directly, over 30% of all of the crops we produce globally go into livestock feed. Given that livestock are about 10-15% efficient (at best) in converting their feed into biomass that we can consume, livestock represent a huge efficiency bottle-neck in the food system. No wonder then, that livestock products have a water footprint many times greater than crop products, and that ruminant meat has a greenhouse gas footprint 100 times that of plant-based foods. We are not talking about percentages here – we are talking about a factor of 100!

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