Vast tracts of land are needed to grow crops to feed the billions of animals we raise for food each year. According to scientists at the Smithsonian Institute, the equivalent of seven football fields of land is bulldozed every minute, much of it to create more room for farmed animals. Of all the agricultural land in the U.S., nearly 80 percent is used in some way to raise animals—that’s roughly half of the total land mass of the U.S. More than 260 million acres of U.S. forest have been cleared to create cropland to grow grain to feed farmed animals.
The U.S. certainly isn’t alone in its misuse of land for animal agriculture. As the world’s appetite for meat increases, countries across the globe are bulldozing huge swaths of land to make more room for animals and the crops to feed them. From tropical rain forests in Brazil to ancient pine forests in China, entire ecosystems are being destroyed to fuel our addiction to meat. According to scientists at the Smithsonian Institute, the equivalent of seven football fields of land is bulldozed every minute to create more room for farmed animals.
In the United States and around the world, overgrazing leads to the extinction of indigenous plant and animal species, soil erosion, and eventual desertification that renders once-fertile land barren. Livestock grazing is the number one cause of threatened and extinct species both in the United States and in other parts of the world. Philip Fradkin, of the National Audubon Society, states, “The impact of countless hooves and mouths over the years has done more to alter the type of vegetation and land forms of the West than all the water projects, strip mines, power plants, freeways, and subdivision developments combined.”
As more and more land both in the U.S. and around the world is irreparably damaged at the hands of the meat industry, what little arable land does remain may not be enough to produce crops to feed the burgeoning world human population.
Overgrazing leads to the extinction of indigenous plant and animal species, soil erosion, and eventual desertification that renders once-fertile land barren.
While factory farms are ruining our land, the commercial fishing industry is pushing entire oceanic ecosystems to the brink of collapse. Commercial fishing boats indiscriminately pull as many fish as they can out of the sea, leaving ecological devastation and the bodies of nontarget animals in their wake. Fishing methods like bottom trawling and long-lining have emptied millions of miles of ocean and pushed some marine species to the brink of extinction.