Dairy Farming that Costs the Earth


The current global agricultural system is responsible for 37 percent1 of all greenhouse gas emissions. Livestock is accountable for 18 percent2. This is more than any other sector of the economy; more than all transport put together. It is also a major source of land and water degradation.

In a society where consumption of animal products is growing at an astonishing rate, it is absolutely vital that we re-think the way we rear our livestock – unless the entire world is willing to convert to veganism.

Organic agriculture is less energy intensive, using 37 percent3 less fossil fuels than industrialised farming… but the Ahimsa method is entirely independent from fossil fuels. By using trained bulls to work the land, we break free from the shackles of chemical and machine, and give jobs back to the people with the help of animals and simple tools, as has been done for thousands of years.

Due to the intensity of land and feed needed to support beef cattle, beef – and, to a lesser extent, all other meat – is extremely economically wasteful and energy inefficient. Dairy, however, is a highly economical food. The Bhaktivedanta Manor dairy herd, even with its oxen, calves and non-milking cows, is still nearly two and a half times more productive in terms of food calorie production than a comparable beef farm4.

Cruelty free and fossil fuel free dairy production is not some idealistic dream; it is a practical and viable necessity.

1 According to Michael Pollan in his Letter to the President-Elect (October 2008)

2 According to report published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization Livestock’s Long Shadow –Environmental Issues and Options

3 According to HRH the Prince of Wales, cited in “Cows and the Earth” (Prime, 2009)

4 According to Richard Prime, see calculations in “Cows and the Earth” (2009) pages 115-117.