Meat, Dairy & Eggs Drain Fresh Water Resources

March 22 is World Water Day, an international day focusing on sustainability and the responsible use of water.

While many Canadians make efforts to conserve water—like taking shorter showers or turning off the tap while brushing one’s teeth—these actions make a meager impact in comparison to dietary change.

The meat, dairy, and egg industries are notoriously water-intensive. While marketing campaigns led by Canada’s animal agriculture industries aim to dupe consumers into thinking these foods can be sustainable, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Studies show that animal agriculture is responsible for 20-30 percent of all freshwater consumption in the world today.

From the water used to grow crops to feed cows, pigs, and chickens, to the resources needed for production and packaging, it requires immense amounts of water to put steak, pork chops, milk, and omelets on our plates.

Amount of water its takes to produce these common foods:

FoodQuantityWater Consumption in Litres
Beef1 kg15,415
Sheep Meat1 kg10,412
Pork1 kg5,988
Butter1 kg5,553
Goat Meat1 kg5,521
Chicken Meat1 kg4,325
Cheese1 kg3,178
Milk250 ml glass255
Egg60 g196
Rice1 kg2,497
Dry Pasta1 kg1,849
Bread from Wheat1 kg1,608
Corn1 kg1,222
Apple1 kg822
Banana1 kg790
Potato1 kg287
Tomato1 kg214
Source: World Water Footprint

Grains, fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based foods obviously fare much better than animal-based foods.

And plant-based meat products are also a more water-friendly option than animal foods. Plant-based meat uses 72-99 percent less water than meat does, according to statistics compiled by the Good Food Institute.

Image show vegan Beyond Meat Burger.
Beyond Meat burger made with plant-based protein.

Water that can be saved by opting for these plant-based meat products:

ProductInstead of This Conventional MeatReduces Water Use
(L/kg) By This Much
Impossible Burger 2.0Beef burger87%
Beyond BurgerBeef burger99%
Source: Good Food Institute

Conserving water helps reduce water shortage frequency and impacts, diverts less water from rivers and bays, and saves on energy used in water treatment systems.

We can all play a role in helping the environment by reducing our water consumption, and a great place to start is by choosing plant-based foods that are kinder to animals, and better for the planet.

Banner: Jo-Anne McArthur | Israel Against Live Shipments | We Animals Media