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Animal agriculture is the second-highest source of global CO2 emissions.
 Factory farming is setting the planet on fire and our excessive consumption of cheap meat is fuel to the flames.

Most important things to know

By choosing to eat less meat, you can make a difference

Why is FOUR PAWS working on climate change?

Have you heard about the idea of “One Welfare”? It means that animal welfare, human health and the well-being of the environment are heavily interconnected. So let’s connect the dots: factory farming destroys the planet and has the potential to breed the next pandemic – which is bad for human health. In turn: If we eat fewer animals and more plant-based food, it is good for animals, humans and the planet.


How is meat related to climate change?

Globally, the livestock industry generates 16.5% of our total global greenhouse gas emissions. It is the second-highest source of emissions and amounts to more than the entire transport sector - all of the world’s cars, trucks, ships and airplanes combined¹.

On top of that, animal agriculture is the leading contributor to biodiversity loss, acid rain, coral reef degeneration, deforestation and water pollution².

When land is used to raise animals instead of crops, precious water and soil are lost, trees are cut down to clear the land for feed production and factory farms and untreated animal waste pollutes rivers and streams.

The world’s cattle alone consume more food than the caloric needs of the entire human population on Earth³ — a massive waste of energy. 

To save the climate, we have to reduce our consumption of meat and finally end factory farming. Meat has such a devastating impact on all aspects of our environment that the Union of Concerned Scientists lists it as one of the biggest environmental hazards facing the Earth. 


1. Your Questions About Food and Climate Change, Answered. NYTimes, 2019

2. Livestock a major threat to environment. FAO Newsroom, 2006.

3. The global benefits of eating less meat: a report for Compassion in World Farming Trust. Compassion in World Farming, 2004.

What can I do personally?

When it comes to climate friendly behaviour, we talk a lot about sustainable sources of energy and transport. However, a very effective way to lower your personal carbon footprint is through your diet. The consumption of cheap meat supports the dysfunctional factory farming industry that causes immense animal suffering and is a key contributor to climate change.

To take action, FOUR PAWS recommends the 3 R’s principle. That is to: Reduce the number of animal products that are consumed as much as possible, Refine the selection of animal products that are consumed to the most sustainable and cruelty-free option on offer and to Replace as many animal products as possible with tasty, cruelty-free and climate-friendly alternatives.

What is a climate-friendly diet?

A climate-friendly diet is one which has the least impact on our animals and the environment. On average, the production of meat and other animal-based products have a much greater carbon footprint than plant-based alternatives. Therefore, a climate-friendly diet includes choosing more plant-based, and whenever possible, regional and seasonal oriented diet, which automatically contributes the reduction of meat and other animal-based products being consumed. 

More and more people around the world are interested in animal welfare labels and the demand for plant-based meat-alternatives is skyrocketing. This is a global movement that can change our world for the better with your help!


Read more on our climate-related work

Man made forest fires to clear land for cattle or crops

Climate on the Menu: Reducing Meat and Dairy to Save Our Planet

How Reducing Meat and Dairy Can Save Our Planet

Calf in veal crate

Political Change for More Animal Welfare and Climate Protection

Urging political decision-makers to make the world a better place for animals 


Hurricane Season in a time of COVID

A potentially strong hurricane season in the midst of a pandemic


Response to Amazon's Rainforest Burning

Statement on the ongoing fires in the Amazon Rainforest and the connection to the meat industry, from Director of the Farm Animals and Nutrition Department at FOUR PAWS, Martina Stephany:

factory farming

The Atlas Challenge

The FOUR PAWS food industry rankings towards animal protein reduction

Pigs in factory farming

An End of Factory Farming to Halt the Climate Crisis

This FOUR PAWS publication addresses governments and asks them to put food and farming at the heart of urgent climate action



Our food choices directly impact our health, animals and the planet.

Dairy cow in a barn in Sweden


It’s time for industries to step up 

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