A hamburger’s impact (or my beef with beef)

Cow One might be tempted to ask: What would Jesus eat these days?

The answer may involve translating your burger into the grain, forest and water needed for its production


It takes 12 pounds of grain to produce one pound of hamburger. This could make eight loaves of bread, or 24 plates of spaghetti. Grain consumption by livestock is increasing twice as fast as grain consumption by people. Cattle consume 70% of all U.S. grain.

Rain Forest

While not all hamburgers come from the rain forest, for every pound of rain forest beef, approximately 660 pounds of precious living matter is destroyed, including 20—30 different plant species, over 100 insect species, and dozens of mammals and reptiles.


It takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of hamburger. This could be used to grow more than 50 pounds of fruits and vegetables. Half of all water consumed in the United States is used to grow feed and provide drinking water for cattle and other livestock.

So…start small and skip a beef meal

One cow can poop 75 to 100 pounds of manure a day!

The average American ate more than 68 pounds of beef in 2001. That’s well over a pound a week. Maybe you’re not the average eater, but chances are you’re still chowing down a lot of beef. The problem is, every quarter-pounder has a lot more to it than just the meat you’re eating. Cutting back on beef can make a big difference to the health of our environment. Find out the deal.

Better “burgers” (pdf)

Download a printable “I Buy Different Chart”