Myth: Livestock Have A Greater Negative Environmental Impact Than Cars


The United Nations (UN) erred in making this statement several years ago and unfortunately, it has taken on a life of its own and is widely reported even though the organization acknowledged its mistake. 1 In 2010, UN officials said that they would recalculate the number based on this error and re-release a new number.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data show that all of agriculture contributes 9 percent 2 of America’s greenhouse gas emissions while livestock production accounts for 3 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. By contrast, transportation accounts for 27 percent.

Research at Washington State University, Cornell and other universities shows that beef production has evolved and, over time, has required fewer and fewer natural resources to raise the same wholesome products that help us continue to feed a growing global population.

Consumers needn’t worry. Like all people, cattle producers have a vested interest in protecting the environment in which they live and increasingly, they are producing more beef with fewer resources.

  1. UN Admits Flaw in Report on Meat and climate Change, Telegraph March 24, 2010.