According to a study by Researchers at Oxford University, adopting a vegan diet could be the single most important factor in reducing our environmental impact on the planet. Researchers at the University of Oxford found that cutting meat and dairy products from our diet could reduce an individual’s carbon footprint from food by up to 73 per cent.

The research shows that without meat and dairy consumption, global farmland use could be reduced by more than 75% – an area equivalent to the US, China, European Union and Australia combined – and still feed the world (i).

When it comes to species extinction, Animal Agriculture has a massive impact on biodiversity destruction. One-third of the Earth’s land surface is devoted to Animal Agriculture and is responsible for 30% of biodiversity loss. Large areas of the rainforests in South America are being used to either grow crops to feed the animals being raised in agriculture, or for the cattle to graze on; 97% of the world’s soya-bean meal is fed to cows, chickens, sheep, and pigs. By stopping deforestation and replanting trees, we can tackle not only the climate crisis, but also save many species of animals, which will otherwise – with absolute certainty – become extinct.

The findings by the Researchers at Oxford University reveal that meat and dairy production is responsible for 60 per cent of agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions, while the products themselves provide just 18 per cent of calories and 37 per cent of protein levels around the world. Meat production is highly inefficient – this is particularly true when it comes to red meat; to produce one kilogram of beef requires 25 kilograms of grain.

Animal agriculture is also responsible for using large amounts of water. It takes about 1,790 litres of water to grow 1 kilogram of wheat but we’d need to use more than five times that for 1 kilogram of beef. It takes the equivalent of 50 bathtubs full of water to produce just one steak. And producing cows’ milk requires 72% more water than is used to produce soya milk. Furthermore 1,805 litres of water are required to produce 0.45 kilograms of eggs and almost 3,406 litres of water are needed for 0.45 kilograms of cheese.

(i)  The Guardian – Avoiding Meat And Dairy Is Single Biggest Way to Reduce Your Impact on Earth