Fact Sheet

Part 1: Food and Resources Consumption

Parameter

Cowspiracy

What We Found

Comment

Reference

Average meat consumption in US per person per year (lb)

209

195 (in 2000)

Reasonable

usda.gov

Worldwide, how much water cows drink (billion gallons/day)

45

10.5-45

Overestimated

water.usgs.gov

Worldwide, how much food cows eat (billion lb/day)

135

130-150

Reasonable

ars.usda.gov

Proportion of soybean and other grains used to feed animals

90%, 70-80%

70%, 36%

Overestimated

statista.com

Water consumed in the US for animal agriculture (Percentage out of total water consumption)

55

56.5

Correct

water.usgs.gov

US Agriculture Water Consumption (Percentage out of total water consumption)

80-90

80

80 is on average and 90% in western states

Schaible and Aillery (2012)

Gallons of water needed to produce 1 pound of beef

2500

1845

Slightly Overestimated

waterfootprint.org

Gallons of water needed to produce 1 pound of eggs

477

395

Slightly Overestimated

waterfootprint.org

Percentage of the earth land livestock occupies

45

30, 45

Both values can be found

30% from "Livestock's Long Shadow" Report by FAO

45% from Thornton et al. (2011)

Gallons of water needed to produce 1 pound of cheese

900

599

Overestimated

waterfootprint.org

Gallons of water needed to produce 1 gallons of milk

1000

1000

Correct

waterfootprint.org

Gallons of water to produce 1 hamburger

660

634
(150 g beef)

Correct

Hoekstra and Chapagain (2007)

Fish catch annually (million tons)

100

90.06 (in 2007)

Reasonable

The guardian

Ration of fish catch to unintended marine species catch and discarded

1:5

1:5.7

Correct

fao.org



Part 2: Greenhouse gas (GHG) emission

Cowspiracy

What We Found

Source

Safe amount of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is 350 ppm

Correct

"Target Atmospheric CO2: Where Should Humanity Aim?" By author Dr. James Hansen

The current level of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is 400 ppm

Correct

Daily measurement from Mauna Loa Observatory

Methane is 25-100 times more destructive than CO2

Methane is a more portent GHG. It traps more heat than CO2 and warms the planet more rapidly. However, it dissipates in the atmosphere quicker. It is, however, not easy to determine to what extent methane is more destructive. See the following facts from different sources:

a) Methane is 6.5-56 times more destructive than CO2 regarding different time horizon

Climate Change 1995, The Science of Climate Change

b) Methane is 28-86 times more destructive than CO2 regarding different time horizon

Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis Ch.8, p. 711-714, Table 8.7

Methane has a global warming power 86 times that of CO2

The original statement is: Methane has a global warming potential 86 times that of CO2

Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis Ch.8, p. 711-714, Table 8.7

Livestock accounts for 51% of all worldwide GHG emissions

This fact is adopted from a report by “World Watch Institute” which indicates that FAO’s estimate of 11.8% is underestimated. However, there is no other source to verify this claim. It can be concluded from other related estimates that 51% is an overestimated value. For example: EPA states that in 2013, the Agriculture sector was responsible for emissions of 515.7 MMT CO2 Eq., which is 7.6 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. Methane emissions from enteric fermentation represent 25.2 percent of total CH4 emissions.

"Livestock's Long Shadow"
World Watch Institute
EPA report



Part 3: Environmental Activists

Cowspiracy

What We Found

Source

1100 Amazon forest activists were killed in the last 20 years in Brazil

Correct; More than 1100 activists, small farmers, judges, priests, and other rural workers have been killed in land disputes in the last two decades

The guardian