Friday, February 3, 2023
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Irish Agriculture: Facts & Statistics

Greenhouse Gas Emissions:

  • Agriculture is responsible for 37.5% of the country’s emissions, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • The average dairy farm in Ireland emits 502 tonnes of greenhouse gases per year. This is three and a half times more than the average for beef farms, and for sheep farms, and it is four times more than the average for tillage farms. (Teagasc report)
  • Greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture are proportionally higher than any other country in the EU.
  • Ireland emits more GHG than the poorest 400 million people in the world combined. (Trocaire)

Biodiversity Loss:

  • “Irish agriculture in its current form, is damaging to climate, water quality and biodiversity. The ongoing intensification and expansion of Irish livestock agriculture is the greatest threat to Ireland achieving compliance with its climate and energy responsibilities,and its environmental obligations including legal compliance with EU Directives – the Water Framework Directive, the Habitats Directive, and the Birds Directive.” (Report by Stop Climate Chaos)
  • “60% of all biodiversity loss is attributable to land-use changes from animal cultivation, and as much as 80% of all land in farming is devoted either to raising animals or to growing their feed.” (Article from Irish Examiner, 2018)

Inefficiency of Animal-based Foods:

  • In 2017 Ireland fed enough food calories for 127 million people to farm animals who produced enough calories to feed only 20.6 million people –wasting 85% of the calories.
  • In Ireland plant based foods produce 10-20 times more protein per hectare than beef.

Environmental Pollution:

  • 30% of Ireland’s private wells are contaminated by E.Coli which comes mostly from slurry spreading but also from faulty domestic septic tanks.  This is the highest rate of groundwater contamination in Europe.
  • Ireland’s farm animals produce approximately 50 times more waste than the human population.  This waste is spread untreated on our land polluting its streams, rivers, and lakes.
  • Nitrogen pollution costs the European Union up to €320 billion a year.  Over 80% of EU nitrogen emissions to water are linked to animal agriculture.
  • According to the EPA State of the Irish Environment 2016 Report, only 7% of land based ecosystems are considered to be in a favourable ecological condition.

Related Links:

Irish Newspaper Articles:

For statistics on the detrimental effect of animal agriculture globally, click here.

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