Leading Cause of Climate Change is Animal Agriculture, not Fossil Fuels

There is some kind of “cowspiracy” going on…  Animal agriculture is the leading cause of climate change, but no one seems to want to address it.

The documentary Cowspiracy, available on Netflix and through the film’s website, etc., does, and is worth a watch, particularly for the following reasons (in addition to being entertaining/captivating throughout):

1) Learning that animal agriculture is, by far, the leading cause of climate change.

2) Awkward silences and equivocation from leading environmental groups when asked what would seem to be the most basic question about their topic of expertise: “What is the leading cause of climate change?”  Some ultimately get around to it, albeit reluctantly, and the reasons for their reticence are fascinating and revealing.

3) Visual illustrations of how much land/water it would take to “sustainably” feed the world’s current demands for meat, dairy, eggs, fish, and other animal products (ie leather).  (Hint: it’s nowhere near possible.)

4) Statistics on the easy contributions one can make to preserving the environment by simply reducing the amount of animal products one consumes.  For example:

2,500 gallons of water are needed to produce 1 pound of beef.  Eating one less hamburger per month saves approximately 600 gallons of water.

477 gallons of water are required to produce 1lb. of eggs.  Eating three less eggs per month saves approximately 115 gallons of water.

Almost 900 gallons of water are needed for 1lb. of cheese.  Eating three less 1 oz. servings of cheese per month saves approximately 168 gallons of water.

1,000 gallons of water are required to produce 1 gallon of milk.  Cut out ¼ gallon of milk per month and save 250 gallons of water.

(A resource for things to eat instead, if one wants to make the reductions but maintain current caloric intake level.)

These four small reductions add up to saving over 1,000 gallons of water per month. Thus, if even just one million people in the US made these reductions, it would amount to a monthly savings of over a billion gallons of water.  This is not to mention carbon and other reductions that come from reducing or abandoning animal product consumption.

The filmmakers list their facts and sources here, and have created the following info-graphic:


Reporter focuses on force dynamics, national and global, and also writes professionally for the film industry.  Contact on Twitter.

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  • kimyo

    Vegan Italian parents investigated for neglect after baby son found severely malnourished

    The parents said they were not aware of the impact of a vegan diet on their child

    The vegan parents of an 11-month-old Italian baby are under investigation after their son was rushed to hospital suffering severe malnutrition.

    The couple, who live on the outskirts of the Tuscan city of Pisa, could face charges of abuse over their child, who was taken to Cisanello Hospital in a critical condition.

    Doctors said the baby was severely malnourished and showed signs of deficiency in vitamin B12, which is found in foods including fish, meat, eggs and milk.

    “He could neither crawl nor sit himself up,” said Giovanni Federico, a paediatrician at the hospital.

    The baby’s parents, who are in their early thirties, follow a vegan diet and do not eat meat, eggs or dairy products.

    Mr Federico said the baby’s parents had put him on a vegan diet once he began to eat solid foods.

    “But the little boy refused to eat the vegetables they were giving him,” he said. “And so the parents returned to giving him just breastmilk, which is totally inadequate by six months.”

    However, on arriving at the hospital, “they [the parents] had realised they’d put the child on the wrong diet and they immediately agreed for him to be given fish and meat.”

    Mr Federico added: “I think we have to wait until he’s three or four years old to determine whether he’s suffered permanent damage.”

    Doctors allege that the mother’s diet caused a deficiency of vital vitamins in her breast milk, which she was feeding her son.

    Following a blood test, he was also found to be lacking in iron and vitamin D.

    A doctor, who did not want to be named, told Corriere della Sera that the parents did not realise the effect of their vegan diet on their son.

    “They [the parents] have always demonstrated affection for their child,” the doctor said. “And the baby was not neglected.

    “The problem was that they realised too late the effects of choosing a vegan diet without seeking medical advice.”

    Doctors said the baby remained in a critical condition but were optimistic for his recovery.

    • Robert Barsocchini

      “The American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and Dietitians of Canada consider well-planned vegetarian and vegan diets “appropriate for individuals during all stages of the lifecycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, and adolescence, and for athletes.”[158] The German Society for Nutrition cautioned against a vegan diet for pregnant women, babies and children as of 2011.[156] The Canadian Pediatric Society regards well-planned vegan diets as appropriate “at all stages of fetal, infant, child and adolescent growth”; attention should be given to nutrient intake, particularly protein, vitamins B12 and D, essential fatty acids, iron, zinc and calcium.”


      • kimyo

        i believe cafos are destroying our planet. however, there are just no non-animal sources of certain key nutrients/vitamins, including heme iron, b12, d3 and k2.

        i believe that we’ve overfished beyond any possible recovery and that massive aquatic die-offs are absolutely a given (including vast swathes of death due to bp’s deepwater horizon/corexit and fukushima). however, that doesn’t impact my conclusion that a diet rich in seafood delivers the healthiest humans.

        there’s a simple rule: eyes on the side = prey, eyes up front = predator. flounder, deer, chickens = prey. sharks, tigers, humans = predators. (prey, while grazing, must ‘keep an eye out’ for predators, thus the placement of their eyes so as to deliver as wide a field of view as possible)

        lastly, there was a time when buffalo/bison were ‘too numerous to count’ in north america. at that time, it was forest from coast to coast (for the most part). it seems possible that the two go hand in hand (ie: cow dung is a key nutrient for healthy, thriving forests). i did read the supporting links posted above, and i do see a take-down of allen savory’s work. however, it is liberally littered with ‘consensus’ and ad hominem attacks.

        • Robert Barsocchini

          I would just refer back to the first quote I cited. Major organizations of experts say going fully vegan is healthy, but certainly almost no one says current meat consumption habits are either healthy or sustainable, which is what this post is about primarily. Not trying to get into ethics here other than as related to climate, which is a totally objective issue as pertains to animal agriculture.

          • kimyo

            i like your posts, and unlike certain oblivious/verbose authors here, my take is that you are genuinely curious, and (like me) willing to reconsider positions based on evidence. (not saying that i have sufficient evidence one way or another, just that you do seem to be open-minded.)

            removing cafo foods from one’s diet will (provably) result in numerous health improvements. salmon were never meant to eat cow brains and corn. cows and chickens were never meant to eat gmo soy while being pumped full of antibiotics and growth hormones.

            on that part, i’d say that you and i are in 99% agreement.

            forgive me, though, for being skeptical of ‘major organizations of experts’. our understanding of optimal human health and diet, is imho in its early infancy. the information required for the ‘major organizations’ to conclude that veganism is ‘healthy’ simply does not exist.

            in the same way, the information required for princeton/krugman/the fed to conclude that ‘qualitative easing is the bomb’ simply does not exist. yet, on the pages of the nytimes, the krug et al are accorded a god-like level of respect.

            the ‘major organizations’ told us to favor trans-fats (margarine) over butter for decades (in subservience to industry and with demonstrable harm to human health). i know people who are still eating egg-white omelettes even though Cholesterol in food not a concern, new report says

            also see: Fat Chance: Saturated Fats Have No Link to Heart Disease

            i’ve looked. i cannot find any study which compares health outcomes of vegan children as compared to non-vegans. shouldn’t we have those in hand before we start attempting to shift to planet over to veganism?

          • Robert Barsocchini

            Not trying to change your mind, just using the opportunity to put information out there for anyone interested. Can keep going, but there’s enough here, already, and it’s so easy to find, there’s not much point adding more. If people are interested, they’ll look. I always enjoy talking to you, though 🙂

  • August 21, 2015 Study: German Scientists Conclude 20th Century Warming “Nothing Unusual” …Foresee “Global Cooling Until 2080″!

    The Die kalte Sonne site here features a worrisome essay by German climate scientists Horst-Joachim Lüdecke, Dr. Alexander Hempelmann and Carl Otto Weiss. They carefully examined climate changes of the past and have found that the recent changes (of the last 40 years are nothing out of the ordinary and that we need to worry about a global cooling that will persist until 2080.


  • JANUARY 3, 2015 The Great Pause lengthens again: Global temperature update: The Pause is now 18 years 3 months (219 months)

    ‘The RSS (Remote Sensing Systems) satellite dataset shows no global warming at all for 219 months from October 1996 to December 2014 – more than half the 432-month satellite record.’ ‘The global warming that the IPCC had so confidently but misguidedly predicted 25 years ago has stopped altogether.’ ‘The Great Pause is a growing embarrassment to those who had told us with ‘substantial confidence’ that the science was settled and the debate over. Nature had other ideas.’


    CO2 makes up .036% of the atmosphere. Tiny, miniscule, practically unnoticeable. Got to be a Religion if you believe it makes the other 99.964% warmer.

  • Oh my, who knew this could happen?

    March 10, 2015 New Claim: ‘Climate change’ causes mummies to turn to ‘black ooze’

    Burial sites ‘experiencing higher humidity levels due to climate change’

    The world’s oldest mummies are at risk of disappearing because of man-made climate change, according to a group of Harvard University scientists.


  • MrLiberty

    Re-legalization of HEMP cultivation for commercial uses would also have a positive impact. Cotton production is VERY water and pesticide intensive while HEMP grows nearly everywhere and requires little to no pesticide use and when planted close together (as is needed for finer fibers used in clothing), blocks out nearly all weeds. It is the greatest biomass plant on earth growing sometimes 15 or more feet tall in a growing season and the remnants of the cultivation can also be used for ethanol production or burned for fuel as opposed to corn. I am already a vegetarian so none of these stats is new to me, but the HEMP issue is another purposely hidden one because of all of its competitors.

  • This could and should be our number one concern when discussing the topic of climate!

    March 18, 2015 Amazon’s carbon uptake declines as trees die faster

    Source: University of Leeds Summary: The Amazon is losing its capacity to absorb carbon from the atmosphere, reveals he most extensive land-based study of the Amazon to date. From a peak of two billion tons of carbon dioxide each year in the 1990s, the net uptake by the forest has halved and is now for the first time being overtaken by fossil fuel emissions in Latin America.


  • Debbie Macmillan

    For the planet – Going vegan is a great way to reduce your environmental impact. A recent Oxford University study showed that a vegan diet results in less than half the greenhouse gas emissions of a meat-based one, and just two-thirds that of a vegetarian diet. Not only that, but going vegan also means less rainforest is cleared to make way to grow feed for farmed animals.

  • Bill Shevick

    This will shut up those idiots who think the Sun causes climate change.

    The only way to save our world is to reduce the number of humans.