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How does livestock production affect the ecological footprint?


Livestock production is one of the most important economic sectors with a significant impact on the ecological footprint. Livestock production involves the raising and keeping of animals, most often for meat, milk and eggs. However, livestock production not only brings economic benefits, it also poses serious environmental challenges.

Livestock and the greenhouse effect

Livestock production is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. The digestive process of animals produces methane, one of the most important greenhouse gases. In addition, the clearing of land for livestock production and the feeding of livestock also produce significant greenhouse gas emissions.

Water use and water pollution

Livestock production is a major water user. A lot of water is needed to water animals and grow feed. In addition, animal faeces and chemicals used in feed production can pollute water sources, causing serious environmental problems.

Land degradation

The expansion of land for livestock production and intensive fodder production can lead to land degradation. High levels of manure and chemicals used in intensive livestock production can damage soil quality, which can reduce the fertility of the land in the long term.

Biodiversity loss

Livestock production occupies large areas of land, which can lead to loss of natural habitats. The chemicals used in animal husbandry and feed production can damage surrounding organisms and reduce biodiversity.


Livestock production has a significant impact on the ecological footprint. Greenhouse gas emissions, water use and pollution, land degradation and biodiversity loss all pose serious environmental challenges. Making livestock production more sustainable and research into alternative protein sources can be important steps to reduce the ecological footprint.

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