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The environmental effects of the meat & dairy industries

Photo courtesy of Petras Gagilas on Flickr

On this edition of Your Call's One Planet series, we discuss the environmental impacts of the meat and dairy industries.

They account for 70 percent of global freshwater consumption, 38 percent of total land use and about 15 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to a recent UN report. Scientists say people, particularly those who live in wealthier nations, must consume fewer animals products in order to save the world from the worst impacts of climate change.

Between 2020 and 2022, less than 0.5 percent of stories about climate change by leading news outlets in the US, the United Kingdom, and Europe mentioned meat or livestock, according to Madre Brava. What will it take for major media outlets to cover this critical issue?


Joe Fassler, writer covering food and the environment

Kenny Torrella, staff writer for Vox covering animal welfare and the future of meat

Web Resources:

Vox: Why the media too often ignores the connection between climate change and meat

The Guardian: Hot air — five climate myths pushed by the US beef industry

The Guardian: Inside big beef’s climate messaging machine: confuse, defend and downplay

The Guardian: Vegan diet massively cuts environmental damage, study shows

Vox: A new investigation exposes the stomach-churning practice that goes into making your bacon

The Guardian: Methane emissions from 15 meat and dairy companies rival those of the EU

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism: JBS — The Brazilian butchers who took over the world

Sentient Media: Tyson Foods — How Many Chickens Does Tyson Kill Per Day?

Malihe Razazan is the senior producer of KALW's daily call-in program, Your Call.
Rose Aguilar has been the host of Your Call since 2006. She became a regular media roundtable guest in 2001. In 2019, the San Francisco Press Club named Your Call the best public affairs program. In 2017, The Nation named it the most valuable local radio show.