Animal agriculture, in general (factory farmed or “free-range”) is responsible for the majority of all planetary deforestation.
According to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) secretariat, the overwhelming direct cause of deforestation is indeed, agriculture.
Subsistence farming (meaning self-sufficient) is responsible for 48% of all planetary deforestation and commercial agriculture (mainly Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) is responsible for 32% of all planetary deforestation.
Considering that humanity feeds half (in the U.S. it is much higher than half) of all grains that we reap to “livestock” animals and the vast requirement (grain and water) to produce small amounts of animal product(up to 16 pounds of grain and 2,500 gallons of water to produce just one pound of beef with similar, ridiculous, resource-consumption ratios for pork, as well as chicken production) in comparison with simply consuming the grain itself, we believe that it is quite fair to say that by far, the main impact on rain forests is most certainly, animal agriculture.
The only real reason why forests are stressed at all, is because we feed “livestock” animals, rather than simply eating the vegetation that we grow. There would be no need to remove forests, or wetlands for that matter(half of which are gone, due to animal agriculture), if we simply cultivated and shared fruits, vegetables, as well as grains.
There would be more than an ample food supply for the entire global population, with absolutely no more deforestation or wetlands removal. Farmers would have more food than they knew what to do with. They would literally be giving it away if we did not consume animal-based products.
Therefore, animal agriculture is obviously and most directly responsible for 80% of ALL planetary deforestation. With logging (legal or illegal) being responsible for only 14% of all planetary deforestation, it is imperative that we start pushing a vegetable-based diet as the baseline answer toward fighting deforestation.
The simple fact is that we now lose a land-mass of rain forest the size of the nation of Greece every half-decade, directly due to the choices made on our plates. We have 40 years of rain forest left at our current rate, a sobering fact, which will only accelerate as our population does.
There are currently 7 billion humans on the planet now, 40,000 of which starve to death whilst another 6,000 succumb to poor water-source issues, each and every day. There is no way around simple truth and there are no more excuses. It is time to wake up from our apathetic slumber, face reality and evolve as a collective species for the sake of our children.
The AELLA Team