The meat industry’s inefficiency is probably most prominent when it comes to the use of food, land and water.
In addition to the forests that are cut down to provide grazing fields for livestock, much land is needed both to grow the grain to feed the animals and to dispose of their waste. 15 kg of grain are needed in order to grow one kg of meat, while farm animals create 41 tons of excrement per second.
It’s not surprising that with the growing demand for meat, this land put together takes up a staggering 33% of the Earth’s land, the size of Asia. According to an Oxford study, cultured meat would require 99% less land and 45% less energy to grow than conventional meat.
92% of the global use of water is indirect. Meaning not water directly consumed or used, but the water used to create food, clothing and other products. Among food products, beef is the most wasteful, with 16,000 litres (4220 gallons) of water needed to create 1 kg (2.2 lbs) of meat. The quantities take into account the drinking water as well as the water used to create the animal’s food. In comparison, only 1600 litres (422 gallons) are needed to create 1 kg of wheat. The same study, predicts that 1 kg of cultured meat would require only 640 litres (169 gallons) of water.
This taken into account, those of us concerned with conserving with preserving our natural resources would be well advised to support cultured meat research. In a world with an ever growing meat consumption, predicted to double by 2050, the current methods of growing food simply cannot suffice to feed the world.