Meat-Eaters Are The Number One Cause Of Worldwide Species Extinction, New Study Warns

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The full article by Natasha Geiling was originally written for Think Progress

A meat-inclusive diet often comes with a side of environmental caveats, including livestock’s contribution to global warming, its contribution to deforestation, and the stress it places on a bevy of increasingly precious resources, from water to land. Now, a group of researchers want to add another concern to the meat-eater’s plate: worldwide species extinction.
According to a recent study published in Science of the Total Environment by researchers at Florida International University in Miami, livestock production’s impact on land use is “likely the leading cause of modern species extinctions” — a problem the researchers think will only get worse as population growth increases the global demand for meat.
The study is particularly interesting to scientists because research linking livestock’s relationship to biodiversity loss has been lacking, Gidon Eshel, a geophysicist at Bard College who was not involved in the study, told Science.
“Now we can say, only slightly fancifully: You eat a steak, you kill a lemur in Madagascar. You eat a chicken, you kill an Amazonian parrot,” Eshel said.
To understand livestock production’s impact on biodiversity, researchers at Florida International University mapped areas that have exceptionally high percentages of native plants and animal species — known as biodiversity hotspots.

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Meat-Eaters Are The Number One Cause Of Worldwide Species Extinction, New Study Warns