It’s no secret veganism has some major health perks. It could also offer benefits for the environment. So, what would happen if everyone immediately went vegan?
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A few researchers did some digging to find out.
Scientists from Virginia Tech recently conducted an experiment, which was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, to determine how the lifestyle could affect agricultural emissions and food production.
To do so, they created a model that eliminated animal agriculture from American farms, which meant all animal-derived foods were removed from people’s diets. The analyst then calculated how the change would decrease greenhouse gas emission based on the scientists’ model.
They found that greenhouse gas emissions would decrease by 28 percent. That’s less than the 49 percent of gas emissions from farm animals release. Overall, it would reduce total U.S. emissions by an estimated 2.6 percent.
Without animals, farmers would have to find alternate ways to manage an all plant-based agricultural system by using crop fertilizers to replace animal manure or creating a new way to dispose of human-inedible plant waste which animals currently eat.
When it comes to diet, food production would be up by 23 percent. This, however, could provide some nutritional shortcomings. Researchers say there may not be enough calcium, vitamin A and vitamin B12.
“Despite the production of a greater quantity of food in the plants-only system, the actual diets produced from the foods result in a greater number of deficient nutrients and an excess of energy,” the authors wrote.
“This assessment suggests that removing animals from U.S. agriculture would reduce agricultural GHG emissions,” they said, “but would also create a food supply incapable of supporting the U.S. population’s nutritional requirements.”
Want to learn more about the findings? Take a look at the full report here.