More than ever, global population growth and rising consumption levels are stretching the world’s resources. For materials derived from animals, our planet’s capacity is being stretched to the limit.

Consider this:

  • Each year, nearly 300 million tons of meat is consumed worldwide. By 2050, this amount is expected to exceed 500 million tons.
  • The average American alone eats over 270 pounds of meat per year
  • Meat is one of the most environmentally taxing resources – animal farming takes up one third of all available (ice-free) land on the planet. It is the leading contributor to climate change via greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Industrial farming has also concentrated livestock to such an extent that it has significant consequences for food security (i.e. preventing disease outbreaks), the environment and animal welfare.


Source: J.L. Capper, Journal of Animal Science, December, 2011.

Credit: Producers: Eliza Barclay, Jessica Stoller-Conrad; Designer: Kevin Uhrmacher/NPR