Behind a shower curtain that read, “1 kg of Meat = 1 Year of Showers. Clean Your Conscience: Go Vegan,” a PETA India member took a public shower in Nagpur to mark World Water Week (20 to 24 August). PETA India’s point: the best thing that people can do to save water and the environment is to go vegan.
The meat, egg, and dairy industries put a serious strain on the world’s water supply – by watering crops that farmed animals eat, providing billions of animals with drinking water each year, and cleaning the filth from farms, trucks, and slaughterhouses. According to the Water Footprint Network, it takes 322 litres of water to produce 1 kilogram of vegetables. In contrast, the production of animal-derived foods uses much more water: 1 kilogram of milk requires 1,020 litres, 1 kilogram of eggs requires 3,265 litres, 1 kilogram of poultry requires 4,325 litres, 1 kilogram of pork requires 5,988 litres, 1 kilogram of mutton requires 8,763 litres, and 1 kilogram of beef requires a staggering 15,415 litres.
The meat and dairy industries are also incredibly polluting: the world’s top five meat and dairy corporations alone are responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions that exacerbate climate change – particularly through the methane emitted from cattle and other ruminant animals used for food – than major oil and gas companies ExxonMobil, Shell, or BP. And while 224.3 million people are undernourished in India and 91 million people in the country lack suitable access to water, the production of meat, eggs, and dairy uses a third of the world’s freshwater resources and a third of the world’s cropland – which could be used to feed humans instead of farmed animals.