Summary of “What is the true cost of eating meat?”

Throughout human history the hunting and farming of meat has been part of our stories and mythologies and some of our legal and religious systems; the fatted calf for the prodigal son; the medieval forest laws that created areas where no one but English royalty could hunt; the sacrifical sheep to mark the beginning of Eid Al-Adha; even the roasted wild boars consumed at the end of every adventure by Asterix and Obelix.
Many measurements look at agricultural impact without making a distinction between arable v livestock, or industrial v small farms.
An influential study in 2010 of the water footprints for meat estimated that while vegetables had a footprint of about 322 litres per kg, and fruits drank up 962, meat was far more thirsty: chicken came in at 4,325l/kg, pork at 5,988l/kg, sheep/goat meat at 8,763l/kg, and beef at a stupendous 15,415l/kg.
On some estimates farming accounts for about 70% of water used in the world today, but a 2013 study found that it uses up to 92% of our freshwater, with nearly one-third of that related to animal products.
Farms contribute to water pollution in a range of ways: some of those are associated more closely with arable farming, and some with livestock, but it’s worth remembering that one-third of the world’s grain is now fed to animals.
It’s hard to work out exactly what quantity of greenhouse gases is emitted by the meat industry from farm to fork; carbon emissions are not officially counted along entire chains in that way, and so a number of complicated studies and calculations have attempted to fill the gap.
Attempts to pick out the role of animal farming within that have come up with a huge range of numbers, from 6-32%: the difference, according to the Meat Atlas, “Depends on the basis of measurement”.
More recently some innovators have been fusing technology with environmental principles in the form of agroforestry, silvopasture, conservation farming, or regenerative agriculture to create farming methods which all encompass carbon sequestration, high biodiversity and good animal welfare.

The orginal article.