Current farmland usage would be cut by 75% if everyone ate plant-based, study suggests

Author: Molly Pickering

Read Time:   |  1st February 2022

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A recent study has found that just a quarter of current farmland usage would be needed if everyone went vegan


As we say goodbye to Veganuary it is important that we remember the reasons we took the plant-based pledge to inspire us throughout the year.

Eliminating animal products from our diet is the most significant act we can do as individuals to fight against animal suffering and global warming.

According to a recent study, just 25% of current land usage would be needed if everyone ate a plant-based diet.

Additionally, the report analyses the inefficiency of our current food system that is no longer sustainable.

Image source: Joseph Poor & Thomas Nemecek (2018)

Image source: Joseph Poor & Thomas Nemecek (2018)


Farmland usage cut by 75%

Animal agriculture continues to be the leading threat to our environment.

According to FAO1, livestock supply chains emitted an estimated total of 8.1 gigatonnes CO2 in 2010 and has acquired half of all the planet’s habitable land2.

Currently, around 80% of global food production is dedicated to pasture or crops3 to feed animals who will then be slaughtered for consumption.

Moreover, a study by Hannah Ritchie has highlighted how a plant-based diet can reduce the demand for cropland by 75%4 and in turn dramatically reduce GHG emissions.

In addition, the report found that less than half of the world’s cereals are fed directly to humans.

The alarming results reveal that just 48% of the crops are fed to humans, while 41% are used to feed livestock and 11% for biofuels.

If we cut down our reliance on meat and dairy and redistributed the crops we grow for direct human consumption we can reduce the amount of land required as well as spare the lives of animals that are bred for slaughter.

Image source: Joseph Poor & Thomas Nemecek (2018)

Image source: Joseph Poor & Thomas Nemecek (2018)


What can we do next?

While we wish these results were achievable, we know that it is impossible to radically change the world’s diet to a plant-based one.

It is however imperative that we acknowledge these statistics and apply the knowledge to our day to day lives.

By maintaining our Veganuary attitudes throughout the year and reducing meat and dairy we can dramatically decrease the demand for land and animal products.

In turn, reducing GHG emissions and saving innocent animals.

Want to read more?
Discover what our world would look like if plant-based farming became widespread

Source: The Economist



Written by

Molly Pickering

Molly is the Digital Executive and former podcast host at Anthem's Vegan Food & Living, she also works across other titles including Women's Running and Classic Pop to create affiliate content for the website. Starting out as a Digital Marketing Apprentice at Vegan Food & Living in 2021, within 14 months Molly was shortlisted for ‘Best Editorial Assistant’ at the BSME Talent Awards 2022 and won the BCS Special Recognition award for Digital Marketing Apprentice of the Year in 2022

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