Nutritional and greenhouse gas impacts of removing animals from US agriculture

US agriculture was modeled to determine impacts of removing farmed animals on food supply adequacy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The modeled system without animals increased total food production (23%), altered foods available for domestic consumption, and decreased agricultural US GHGs (28%), but only reduced total US GHG by 2.6 percentage units. Compared with systems with animals, diets formulated for the US population in the plants-only systems had greater excess of dietary energy and resulted in a greater number of deficiencies in essential nutrients. The results give insights into why decisions on modifications to agricultural systems must be made based on a description of direct and indirect effects of change and on a dietary, rather than an individual nutrient, basis.

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