Below is a description of the environmental toll taken by a meat-centered diet in the U.S. Try to imagine this on a worldwide scale. If you go to the source link below, you'll also read and see descriptions of factory farms and slaughterhouses (if you eat meat, you should know how it's produced). Try to keep an open mind.
More than 70% of U.S. grain is fed to farmed animals. (USDA, World Cereals Used for Feed, 4/91) It takes almost 7 lbs. of corn and soy to produce 1 lb. of pork. (USDA, Economic Research Service Cattle-Fax, 12/8/89)
Growing feed for industrial animal agriculture systems changes land use, harming biodiversity through habitat loss and ecosystem damage. (FAO of the United Nations, Livestock & the Environment, 1996) Improper grazing has caused extensive environmental damage and rangeland degradation in the Western U.S.; topsoil erosion is a serious problem in the U.S. and to a large extent is caused by the monoculture of corn and soybeans for the pig and chicken industries. (Cheeke, 1999)
Animal agriculture adds significantly to global warming. Scientific American (9/97) reported that growing feed for livestock requires intense use of synthetic fertilizer, releasing nitrous oxide – a far
stronger greenhouse gas than CO2. Producing feed and heating buildings that house animals uses fossil fuels, emitting CO2; decomposition of liquid manure releases large amounts of methane into the atmosphere, as well as forming nitrous oxide (FAO, 1996).
Intensive pig farms have made the air unbreathable in many rural communities; some residents must wear masks while outdoors. (Time, 11/30/98) Ammonia emissions from manure can settle on plants
and soil, resulting in toxicity and biodiversity loss; manure can accumulate heavy metals, contaminating crops and increasing health risks; spreading manure on land can lead to nitrates in groundwater, posing health hazards. (FAO, 1996)
Poultry and pig waste has caused illness through the growth of pathogenic organisms in waterways. (Cheeke, 1999) Animal Waste Pollution in America: An Emerging Problem, released by Senator Tom
Harkin (12/97), states from 1995 to 1997, animal waste in waterways killed over 11 million fish.