After researching the effects of raising livestock and poultry for meat, I found that the negative consequences were even worse than I expected. The total amount of water needed to produce one pound of beef is 1,799 gallons of water and one pound of pork takes 576 gallons of water. (Food Tank). As a comparison, the water footprint of soybeans only takes 216 gallons of water. Beef requires the largest amount of water because the bigger the animal, the more resources required such as more drinking water and water to clean etc. However, the resources that beef requires goes way beyond just water. The thousands of pounds of food cows are fed such as corn require large quantities of fertilizers, land, and fuel for farming machines, and lead to more fossil fuels and pollution. This ties into our class discussion about how cows produce large amounts of methane.
This issue is important because global meat production has doubled and will continue this upward trend. It is difficult to suggest people to become vegetarian, but reducing meat intake by 1/3 could lead to a 1/3 reduction in water usage. There is not a single human activity that affects the planet more than raising livestock.
This photo gives a visual of how water usage sky rockets due to the consumption of beef.