Delighted as we are that you have finally located the emoji button, Frankie, we think you need to sit your excitable self down for a moment, so we can talk about how much of the world’s crops are grown to feed farmed animals, why they need so much, and how much land is deforested to do that. Wooooo 🎉
Seventy billion animals are bred into existence each year so people can eat them. But those 70 billion animals eat far more calories in crops than are yielded in their meat, milk and eggs, which means the whole process is incredibly wasteful. For every 100 calories of grain we feed to farmed animals, we get back only about 40 new calories of milk, 22 calories of eggs, 12 of chicken, 10 of pork or three of beef. It’s a system of food production that Chatham House calls “staggeringly inefficient”.
If you’re in the mood for science – and you do seem like the kind of chap for whom scientific rigor is key – we have more. Eighty-three percent of all available farmland around the world is used to farm animals but that gives us just 18 percent of our calories. That means the other 17 percent of farmland provides almost all of what we need.
Because meat production is so land-hungry, it drives deforestation, with cattle ranching alone responsible for 65 percent of deforestation. Still more is destroyed to make way for feed for factory-farmed animals, including chickens.
So – hold tight, Frankie, here comes the Big Reveal – if we stopped eating animal products, we would need less land, which means more could go back to nature. We could end deforestation, and the terrible global declines in wildlife could be reversed.
In essence, science is saying the exact opposite of you. Yay 👍