Becoming Vegetarian “Can Harm The Environment”
According to a study conducted by Cranfield University on behalf of the World Wildlife Federation, “a switch from beef and milk to highly refined livestock product analogues such as tofu could actually increase the quantity of arable land needed to supply the UK.”
Study results speculate that the amount of foreign land required to produce some animal protein substitute products, in addition to the potential destruction of forests needed for farmland, outweighed the negative impacts of raising beef and lamb in the United Kingdom. More specifically, an increase in vegetarianism in the UK could adversely affect British farming, causing meat production to shift abroad, where there may be less protection of forests and uncultivated land.
In addition, researchers found that meat substitutes may be highly processed, thus requiring large amounts of energy in production. Although researchers recognized the variability of environmental impacts based on the specific type of food in consideration, they emphasize that tofu and other processed meat alternatives are not necessarily environmentally friendly.