Did you know that eating a hamburger could hurt manatees, deer and obviously cows? Are you aware that that a serving of bacon might harm endangered frogs in the Amazon? New Extinction Facts labels from the Center for Biological Diversity reveal hidden costs to wildlife through water, greenhouse gases, habitat loss, pollution and manure that go into America’s favorite meats: chicken, bacon, and hamburgers.
Americans eat a staggering amount of hamburgers. People in the USA consume an average of three hamburgers per person, per week every year. This takes 21 trillion gallons of water to produce. Americans also eat enough chicken annually to destroy 12.4 million acres of wildlife habitat, a loss about the size of 12 million football fields. Bacon production comes with a nasty side effect of crap, literally… 331 billion pounds of pig poop each year — enough to fill 60,667 Olympic-sized swimming pools. (cited from our friends at One Green Planet).
Americans eat more meat than pretty much anyone else in the world — so much that we are literally warming the planet. At least 14.5 percent of greenhouse gases come from raising animals for food to meet the average American diet, which includes 55 pounds of beef, 83 pounds of chicken and 46 pounds of pork per year per person. That’s a combined total of 240 million pounds of hamburger, 29.1 billion pounds of chicken and 1 billion pounds of bacon on American plates every year.
The good news is that cutting back on meat now can still make a tremendous difference. If Americans all replaced just one chicken-based meal a week with a veggie entrée, the effect on our climate would be the greenhouse gas equivalent of taking half a million cars off the road. That’s why Extinction Facts labels, which are designed to look like Nutrition Facts labels, help people understand how cutting back on meat can make our world a The campaign comes along with plant-based wildlife-friendly recipes and a cheap and easy guide to an Earth-friendly diet.
To join Center for Biological Diversity in urging the USDA to promote sustainable diets, click here.