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BBC.co.uk, April 22, 2009    The number of women dying from breast cancer has fallen to a record low by dipping under 12,000 a year for the first time since records began.

The Cancer Research UK data showed that 11,990 women died in the UK in 2007.

The previous lowest figure had been recorded in 1971 – the year records began – after which it rose steadily year-on-year until the late 1980s.

The figures come despite rising rates of diagnoses with experts saying better care and screening is saving lives.

‘Crucial role’

Professor Peter Johnson, Cancer Research UK’s chief clinician, said: “It’s incredibly encouraging to see fewer women dying from breast cancer now than at any time in the last 40 years, despite breast cancer being diagnosed more often.

“Research has played a crucial role in this progress leading to improved treatments and better management for women with the disease.

“The introduction of the NHS breast screening program has also contributed as women are more likely to survive the earlier cancer is diagnosed.”

Breast cancer is now the most common cancer in the UK with 45,500 women every year diagnosed with the disease – a 50% rise in 25 years.

The number of deaths peaked in 1989, when 15,625 women died. It then fell by between 200 and 400 deaths each year until 2004.

There was a slight rise in 2005 and then two years of falls.

Dr Sarah Cant, policy manager at Breakthrough Breast Cancer, said: “It is great news that fewer women are dying from breast cancer and highlights the impact of improved treatments, breast screening and awareness of the disease.

“However, this is still too many women and incidence of the disease is increasing year-on-year.”

The rising rate of breast cancer diagnosis has been put down to a variety of factors including obesity and alcohol consumption.

Health Minister Ann Keen said the fall showed government policies were having an impact.

She added: “We will be extending the screening program to include all women aged 47 to 73 by 2012, meaning 400,000 more will be screened each year.”

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University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences, April. 22, 2009 — The longer women breastfeed, the lower their risk of heart attacks, strokes and cardiovascular disease, report University of Pittsburgh researchers in a study published in the May issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

“Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women, so it’s vitally important for us to know what we can do to protect ourselves,” said Eleanor Bimla Schwarz, M.D., M.S., assistant professor of medicine, epidemiology, and obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. “We have known for years that breastfeeding is important for babies’ health; we now know that it is important for mothers’ health as well.”

According to the study, postmenopausal women who breastfed for at least one month had lower rates of diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, all known to cause heart disease. Women who had breastfed their babies for more than a year were 10 percent less likely to have had a heart attack, stroke, or developed heart disease than women who had never breastfed.

Dr. Schwarz and colleagues found that the benefits from breastfeeding were long-term ― an average of 35 years had passed since women enrolled in the study had last breastfed an infant.

“The longer a mother nurses her baby, the better for both of them,” Dr. Schwarz pointed out. “Our study provides another good reason for workplace policies to encourage women to breastfeed their infants.”

The findings are based on 139,681 postmenopausal women enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative study of chronic disease, initiated in 1994.

Co-authors of the study include Roberta Ray, M.S., Fred Hutchinson Research Center; Alison Stuebe, M.D., University of North Carolina School of Medicine; Matthew Allison, M.D., University of California, San Diego; Roberta Ness, M.D., M.P.H., University of Texas; Matthew Freiberg, M.D., University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine; and Jane Cauley, Dr.P.H., University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

The research was funded by grants from the National Institutes of Health’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the National Institute of Child Health and Development.

Study in mice finds fewer, smaller tumors in those that ate the nuts

Health.USNews.com, April 22, 2009 — Walnuts contain compounds that may help prevent breast cancer, suggest findings from a study involving mice, specially created to develop tumors.

One group of mice was fed a daily diet that included what would be equivalent to 2 ounces of walnuts in humans, while another group of mice ate a regular diet. The mice that ate the diet with walnuts had a much lower incidence of breast tumors, fewer glands with a tumor and smaller-sized tumors.

“These laboratory mice typically have 100 percent tumor incidence at five months; walnut consumption delayed those tumors by at least three weeks,” study author Elaine Hardman, an associate professor of medicine at Marshall University School of Medicine, said in a news release from the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).

Molecular analysis revealed that increased consumption of omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants and phytosterols found in walnuts contributed to tumor resistance in the mice. The findings were to be presented Tuesday at the AACR’s annual meeting in Denver.

“With dietary interventions, you see multiple mechanisms when working with the whole food,” Hardman said. “It is clear that walnuts contribute to a healthy diet that can reduce breast cancer.”

Though the study was done with mice, she suggested that it’s still a good idea for people to eat more walnuts.

“Walnuts are better than cookies, french fries or potato chips when you need a snack,” Hardman said. “We know that a healthy diet overall prevents all manner of chronic diseases.”

The study was funded with matching grants from the American Institute for Cancer Research and the California Walnut Commission.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute has more about preventing breast cancer.

Tel Aviv University — Not all breast cancers are the same, and not all will have fatal consequences. But because clinicians find it difficult to accurately determine which tumors will metastasize, many patients do not receive the therapy fits their disease.

Tel Aviv University has now refined breast cancer identification so that each course of treatment is as individual as the woman being treated.
The new approach — based on a combination of MRI and ultrasound — is able to measure the metabolism rates of cancer cells. The approach helps determine at an earlier stage than ever before which cells are metastasizing, and how they should be treated.
The method, expected to start clinical trials in 2010, is currently being researched in Israel hospitals.

New Field of Medicine
“We have developed a non-intrusive way of studying the metabolism of breast cancer in real time,” says Dr. Ilan Tsarfaty, a lead researcher from TAU’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine. “It’s an invaluable tool. By the time results are in from a traditional biopsy, the cancer can already be radically different. But using our technique, we can map the tumor and its borders and determine with high levels of certainty — right away — which patients should be treated aggressively.”
The research falls in a new field called “translational and personalized medicine”, and Dr. Tsarfaty says it has the potential to save thousands of lives. Papers describing his methodologies were published recently in the journals Cancer Research and Neoplasia.
“Current breast cancer treatments are not tailored to individual patients,” Dr. Tsarfaty says. “Our approach to profiling individual tumors will not only help save lives today, it will provide the basic research for developing cancer drugs of the future,” he says.
Application to Other Cancers
The new research can be applied to all solid tumors, including those resulting from lung and brain cancer, and could be used to respond to a wide spectrum of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, Dr. Tsarfaty reports.
Dr. Tsarfaty’s MRI-and-ultrasound-imaging application monitors the metabolic changes that occur during cancer metastasis. Increased blood flow (which can be sensed by ultrasound) and an increase of oxygen consumption (measured with an MRI) can indicate cancer metastasis with unprecedented levels of sensitivity.
Normally scientists look for structural changes in the body, such as the presence of a tumor. But with their new methods, Dr. Tsasfaty and his team which includes his wife, a radiologist are actually able to “see” cancer metastasis within a small group of cells long before the cancer spreads to other organs in the body.
Earlier Detection, Earlier Treatment
“Today, clinicians only diagnose cancer when they see a tumor several millimeters in size. But our diagnosis can be derived from observing only a few cells, and looks specifically at the activation levels of a protein called Met. Activated Met is an oncogen,” he says. “If the tumor cells show activation of Met, we can design personalized medicine to treat a specific kind of breast cancer.”

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April 22, 2009 — A group of Clarkson University researchers led by Nanoengineering and Biotechnology Laboratories Center (NABLAB) Director Igor Sokolov has discovered a previously unknown feature that distinguishes cancer from normal cells: the difference in cell surface properties.

The authors have identified a critical difference between the surface properties of normal and cancer cells: variation in brushes or tiny “hairs” that cover the cell surface.
The results imply that the brush layer cannot be ignored as was previously done when characterizing cells by mechanical methods. The authors suggest that the difference in the brush layers may have a biological significance, and can be used for detection of cancer.

Brushes on the cell surface, mostly consisting of microridges and tiny hairs called microvilli, are important for interacting with the external environment. Sokolov and his colleagues processed force measurements — taken from the cell surface using an atomic force microscope — according to a model that accounts for these brushes, to quantitatively show that cancerous cells are different. Normal cells have brushes of one length, whereas cancerous cells have mostly two brush lengths of significantly different densities.

The study is done with the help of a physical instrument, the atomic force microscope, which is not a conventional tool for biological research. As a result, the differences found were outside of what is conventionally measured in biology.

“Cancer cells are traditionally detected by biochemical means,” says Sokolov. “However, despite many years of success, those methods have not resulted in defeating cancer. Therefore it is very important to search for alternative, nontraditional ways of looking at cancer. Investigation of the physical properties of cell surfaces might be one such nontraditional way.”

The authors also demonstrated that the difference found in cell surface “brush” is practically impossible to find with other microscopic methods.

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In older women, being more fit helps cognitive function, study shows

Health.USNews.com — Physical fitness may be as good for the brain as it is for the body in old age, a new study says.

A study of Canadian women older than 65 found that those who took part in regular aerobic activity had cognitive function scores 10 percent higher than their peers who did not exercise. The active women also had lower blood pressure (at rest and during exercise) and better vascular responses in the brain, suggesting that better blood flow aids the ability to think, the study found.

The findings were published in the journal Neurobiology of Aging.

“Being sedentary is now considered a risk factor for stroke and dementia,” study author Marc Poulin, an associate professor in the Faculties of Medicine and Kinesiology at the University of Calgary, said in a news release issued by the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research. “This study proves for the first time that people who are fit have better blood flow to their brain. Our findings also show that better blood flow translates into improved cognition.”

“The take-home message from our research is that basic fitness — something as simple as getting out for a walk every day — is critical to staying mentally sharp and remaining healthy as we age,” Poulin said.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Aging has more about exercise for older adults

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ClimateProgress.org, April 22, 2009, by Joseph Romm — Affection for our planet is misdirected and unrequited. We need to focus on saving ourselves. It’s time to dump Earth Day.

Dumping Earth Day has been on my mind for a year now — and all the more so today because the NYT magazine just published an interview with our Nobel-prize winning Energy Secretary, Steven Chu, in which he says:

I would say that from here on in, every day has to be Earth Day.

Well, duh! Heck, we have a whole day just for the trees — and we haven’t finished them off … yet. So if every day is Earth Day, than April 22 definitely needs a new name.

I don’t worry about the earth. I’m pretty certain the earth will survive the worst we can do to it. I’m very certain the earth doesn’t worry about us. I’m not alone. People got more riled up when scientists removed Pluto from the list of planets than they do when scientists warn that our greenhouse gas emissions are poised to turn the earth into a barely habitable planet.

Arguably, concern over the earth is elitist, something people can afford to spend their time on when every other need is met. But elitism is out these days. Only bitter environmentalists cling to Earth Day. We need a new way to make people care about the nasty things we’re doing with our cars and power plants. At the very least, we need a new name.

How about Nature Day or Environment Day? Personally, I am not an environmentalist. I don’t think I’m ever going to see the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. I wouldn’t drill for oil there. But that’s not out of concern for the caribou but for my daughter and the planet’s next several billion people, who will need to see oil use cut sharply to avoid the worst of climate change.

I used to worry about the polar bear. But then some naturalists told me that once human-caused global warming has completely eliminated their feeding habitat — the polar ice, probably by 2020, possibly sooner — polar bears will just go about the business of coming inland and attacking humans and eating our food and maybe even us. That seems only fair, no?

I am a cat lover, but you can’t really worry about them. Cats are survivors. Remember the movie “Alien”? For better or worse, cats have hitched their future to humans, and while we seem poised to wipe out half the species on the planet, cats will do just fine.

Apparently there are some plankton that thrive on an acidic environment, so it doesn’t look like we’re going to wipe out all life in the ocean, just most of it. Sure, losing Pacific salmon is going to be a bummer, but I eat Pacific salmon several times a week, so I don’t see how I’m in a position to march on the nation’s capital to protest their extinction. I won’t eat farm-raised salmon, though, since my doctor says I get enough antibiotics from the tap water.

If thousands of inedible species can’t adapt to our monomaniacal quest to return every last bit of fossil carbon back into the atmosphere, why should we care? Other species will do just fine, like kudzu, cactus, cockroaches, rats, scorpions, the bark beetle, Anopheles mosquitoes and the malaria parasites they harbor. Who are we to pick favorites?

I didn’t hear any complaining after the dinosaurs and many other species were wiped out when an asteroid hit the earth and made room for mammals and, eventually, us. If God hadn’t wanted us to dominate all living creatures on the earth, he wouldn’t have sent that asteroid in the first place, and he wouldn’t have turned the dead plants and animals into fossil carbon that could power our Industrial Revolution, destroy the climate, and ultimately kill more plants and animals.

And speaking of God, Creation Care is also woefully misnamed. If humans are special, invested with a soul by our Creator, along with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, then why should we sacrifice even a minute of that pursuit worrying about the inferior species? Sounds to me more like paganism than monotheism.
All of these phrases create the misleading perception that the cause so many of us are fighting for — sharp cuts in greenhouse gases — is based on the desire to preserve something inhuman or abstract or far away. But I have to say that all the environmentalists I know — and I tend to hang out with the climate crowd — care about stopping global warming because of its impact on humans, even if they aren’t so good at articulating that perspective. I’m with them.

The reason that many environmentalists fight to save the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge or the polar bears is not because they are sure that losing those things would cause the universe to become unhinged, but because they realize that humanity isn’t smart enough to know which things are linchpins for the entire ecosystem and which are not. What is the straw that breaks the camel’s back? The 100th species we wipe out? The 1,000th? For many, the safest and wisest thing to do is to try to avoid the risks entirely.

This is where I part company with many environmentalists. With 6.5 billion people going to 9 billion, much of the environment is unsavable. But if we warm significantly more than 2°C from pre-industrial levels — and especially if we warm more than 4°C, as would be all but inevitable if we keep on our current emissions path for much longer — then the environment and climate that made modern human civilization possible will be ruined, probably for hundreds of years. And that means misery for many if not most of the next 10 to 20 billion people to walk the planet.

So I think the world should be more into conserving the stuff that we can’t live without. In that regard I am a conservative person. Unfortunately, Conservative Day would, I think, draw the wrong crowds.

The problem with Earth Day is it asks us to save too much ground. We need to focus. The two parts of the planet worth fighting to preserve are the soils and the glaciers.

Two years ago, Science magazine published research that “predicted a permanent drought by 2050 throughout the Southwest” — levels of soil aridity comparable to the 1930s Dust Bowl would stretch from Kansas and Oklahoma to California. The Hadley Center, the U.K.’s official center for climate change research, found that “areas affected by severe drought could see a five-fold increase from 8% to 40%.” On our current emissions path, most of the South and Southwest ultimately experience twice as much loss of soil moisture as was seen during the Dust Bowl.

Also, locked away in the frozen soil of the tundra or permafrost is more carbon than the atmosphere contains today. On our current path, most of the top 10 feet of the permafrost will be lost this century — so much for being “perma” — and that amplifying carbon-cycle feedback will all but ensure that today’s worst-case scenarios for global warming become the best-case scenarios. We must save the tundra. Perhaps it should be small “e” earth Day, which is to say, Soil Day. On the other hand, most of the public enthusiasm in the 1980s for saving the rain forests fizzled, and they are almost as important as the soil, so maybe not Soil Day.

As for glaciers, when they disappear, sea levels rise, perhaps as much as two inches a year by century’s end. If we warm even 3°C from pre-industrial levels, we will return the planet to a time when sea levels were ultimately 80 feet higher. The first five feet of sea level rise, which seems increasingly to occur this century on our current emissions path, would displace more than 100 million people. That would be the equivalent of 200 Katrinas. Since my brother lost his home in Katrina, I don’t consider this to be an abstract issue.

Equally important, the inland glaciers provide fresh water sources for more than a billion people. But on our current path, they will be gone by century’s end.

So where is everyone going to live? Hundreds of millions will flee the new deserts, but they can’t go to the coasts; indeed, hundreds of millions of other people will be moving inland. But many of the world’s great rivers will be drying up at the same time, forcing massive conflict among yet another group of hundreds of millions of people. The word rival, after all, comes from “people who share the same river.” Sure, desalination is possible, but that’s expensive and uses a lot of energy, which means we’ll need even more carbon-free power.

Perhaps Earth Day should be Water Day, since the worst global warming impacts are going to be about water — too much in some places, too little in other places, too acidified in the oceans for most life. But even soil and water are themselves only important because they sustain life. We could do Pro-Life Day, but that term is already taken, and again it would probably draw the wrong crowd.

We could call it Homo sapiens Day. Technically, we are the subspecies Homo sapiens sapiens. Isn’t it great being the only species that gets to name all the species, so we can call ourselves “wise” twice! But given how we have been destroying the planet’s livability, I think at the very least we should drop one of the sapiens. And, perhaps provisionally, we should put the other one in quotes, so we are Homo “sapiens,” at least until we see whether we are smart enough to save ourselves from self-destruction.

What the day — indeed, the whole year — should be about is not creating misery upon misery for our children and their children and their children, and on and on for generations. Ultimately, stopping climate change is not about preserving the earth or creation but about preserving ourselves. Yes, we can’t preserve ourselves if we don’t preserve a livable climate, and we can’t preserve a livable climate if we don’t preserve the earth. But the focus needs to stay on the health and well-being of billions of humans because, ultimately, humans are the ones who will experience the most prolonged suffering. And if enough people come to see it that way, we have a chance of avoiding the worst.

We have fiddled like Nero for far too long to save the whole earth or all of its species. Now we need a World War II scale effort just to cut our losses and save what matters most. So let’s call it Triage Day. And if worse comes to worst — yes, if worse comes to worst — at least future generations won’t have to change the name again.

About the author of the piece, above.

Joseph Romm PhD

Senior Fellow

Dr. Joseph Romm is a Senior Fellow at American Progress. He oversees the blog ClimateProgress.org, which was named one of Time Magazine’s Fifteen Favorite Websites for the Environment in 2007. In December 2008, Romm was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for “distinguished service toward a sustainable energy future and for persuasive discourse on why citizens, corporations, and governments should adopt sustainable technologies.” In a March 2009 column in the New York Times, Tom Friedman noted that Dr. Romm is “a physicist and climate expert who writes the indispensable blog climateprogress.org.”
Dr. Romm served as acting assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy during 1997 and principal deputy assistant secretary from 1995 though 1998. In that capacity, he helped manage the largest program in the world for working with businesses to develop and use advanced transportation and clean energy technologies—$1 billion aimed at energy efficiency, hybrid vehicles, electric batteries, hydrogen and fuel cell technologies, renewable energy, distributed generation, and biofuels. Dr. Romm helped lead the administration’s climate technology policy formulation, and initiated, supervised, and publicized a comprehensive technical analysis by five national laboratories of how energy technologies can reduce greenhouse gas emissions at low-cost: Scenarios of U.S. Carbon Reductions.

He is author of Hell and High Water: Global Warming—The Solution and The Politics (William Morrow, January 2007). He is coauthor of the Scientific American article, “Hybrid Vehicles Gain Traction” (April 2006) and author of The Hype About Hydrogen: Fact and Fiction in the Race to Save the Climate, named one of the best science and technology books of 2004 by Library Journal.

Romm holds a Ph.D. in physics from M.I.T. and researched his thesis on physical oceanography at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. More information on him can be found in his Wikipedia entry.

Email: Jromm@americanprogress.org

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Taken from United Nations 408 Page Report on Global Meat Production

Source: UN Report, SciAm.com, April 22, 2009, by Kathy Freston — The meat industry contributes to land degradation, climate change, air pollution, water shortage and pollution, and loss of biodiversity.

My first post on the effect of eating meat on the environment provoked quite a bit of discussion, so in honor of Earth Day, I thought I should follow up with more information about how our natural resources (e.g., air, water, and soil) are depleted and devastated by animal agriculture.

Of course, Earth Day is also a good time to remember that animal agriculture only exists at astronomical levels because people are purchasing vast quantities of chicken, beef, pork, and fish. The market for meat (i.e., we, the consumers) drives the depletion and destruction.

1. Excrement produced by chickens, pigs, and other farm animals: 16.6 billion tons per year — more than a million pounds per second (that’s 60 times as much as is produced by the world’s human population — farmed animals produce more waste in one day than the U.S. human population produces in 3 years). This excrement is a major cause of air and water pollution. According to the United Nations: “The livestock sector is… the largest sectoral source of water pollution, contributing to eutrophication, ‘dead’ zones in coastal areas, degradation of coral reefs, human health problems, emergence of antibiotic resistance and many others.”

2. Water used for farmed animals and irrigating feed crops: 240 trillion gallons per year — 7.5 million gallons per second (that’s enough for every human to take 8 showers a day, or as much as is used by Europe, Africa, and South America combined). According to the UN: “[t]he water used by the sector exceeds 8 percent of the global human water use.” As just one example, “[O]n average 990 liters of water are required to produce one liter of milk.” So drinking milk instead of tap water requires almost 1,000 times as much water.

3. Emissions of greenhouse gases from raising animals for food: The equivalent of 7.8 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year, according to the UN report. Concludes the UN: “The livestock sector is… responsible for 18% of greenhouse gas emissions.” That’s about 40 percent more than all the cars, trucks, planes, trains, and ships in the world combined (transport is 13%). And “The sector emits 37% of anthropogenic methane (with 23 times the global warming potential-or GWP-of CO2)… It emits 65% of anthropogenic nitrous oxide (with 296 times the GWP of CO2). These figures are based on the power of these gases over 100 years; in fact, over 20 years-a more important timeframe for dealing with global warming-methane and nitrous oxide are 72 times and 289 times more warming than CO2. And Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the IPCC (which shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore) has been saying that the 18% figure is probably an underestimate.

4. It takes more than 11 times as much fossil fuel to make one calorie of animal protein as it does to make one calorie of plant protein.

5. Soil erosion due to growing livestock feed: 40 billion tons per year (or 6 tons/year for every human being on the planet-of course if you don’t eat meat, none of this is attributed to you; if you’re in the U.S. where we eat lots more meat than most of the world, your contribution is many times greater than 6 tons/year). About 60% of soil that is washed away ends up in rivers, streams and lakes, making waterways more prone to flooding and to contamination from soil’s fertilizers and pesticides. Erosion increases the amount of dust carried by wind, polluting the air and carrying infection and disease.

6. Land used to raise animals for food: 10 billion acres. According to the UN: “In all, livestock production accounts for 70 percent of all agricultural land and 30 percent of the land surface of the planet.” And “70 percent of previous forested land in the Amazon is occupied by pastures, and feedcrops cover a large part of the remainder.” And “About 20 percent of the world’s pastures and rangelands, with 73 percent of rangelands in dry areas, have been degraded to some extent, mostly through overgrazing, compaction and erosion created by livestock action.”

7. According to the UN, animal agriculture is a leading case of water pollution. The main water pollutants in the US are sediments and nutrients. Animal agriculture is responsible for 55 percent of the erosion that causes sedimentation, and for a third of the main nutrient pollutants, nitrogen and phosphorous. On top of that, animal agriculture is the source of more than a third of the United States’ water pollution from pesticides, and half of its water pollution from antibiotics.

8. Livestock are also responsible for almost two-thirds of anthropogenic ammonia emissions, which contribute significantly to acid rain and acidification of ecosystems.

9. Grain and corn raised for livestock feed that could otherwise feed people, according to the UN: 836 million tons per year (note that the more commonly used figure, 758 million tons, is metric). That’s more than 7 times the amount used for biofuels and is much more than enough to adequately feed the 1.4 billion humans who are living in dire poverty, and the number doesn’t even include the fact that almost all of the global soy crop (about 240 million tons of soy) is also fed to chickens, pigs, and other farmed animals.

10. An American saves more global warming pollution by going vegan than by switching their car to a hybrid Prius.

11. Razing the Amazon rainforest for pasture and feed crops: 5 million acres of Amazon per year. Former Amazon rainforest converted to raising animals for food since 1970 is more than 90% of all Amazon deforestation since 1970.

12. According to the UN: “Indeed, the livestock sector may well be the leading player in the reduction of biodiversity…” And “livestock now account for about 20 percent of the total terrestrial animal biomass, and the 30 percent of the earth’s land surface that they now pre-empt was once habitat for wildlife.” And “Conservation International has identified 35 global hotspots for biodiversity, characterized by exceptional levels of plant endemism and serious levels of habitat loss. Of these, 23 are reported to be affected by livestock production. An analysis of the authoritative World Conservation Union (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species shows that most of the world’s threatened species are suffering habitat loss where livestock are a factor.”

13. United Nations scientists, in their 408-page indictment of the meat industry, sum up these statistics, pointing out that the meat industry is “one of the … most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global,” including “problems of land degradation, climate change and air pollution, water shortage and water pollution, and loss of biodiversity.”