Would you like a glass of water with your burger? Well how about 10,560 glasses. That represents the amount of water it takes to create just one quarter pound beef patty. Think about it – 660 gallons of water, enough for two months of daily showers. Domestic water use, what you and I use daily for cooking, washing, watering the lawn and so on accounts for only 5% of the water we use. A full 55% of our water is used for animal agriculture.
Those of us who are really water conscious can save about 47 gallons of water a day by using low flush toilets and appliances that are water efficient, not allowing the tap to run unnecessarily, limiting our shower time to three minutes, and not hosing off the driveway. It would take 14 days of conservation to save enough water to offset the water needed for one quarter pound burger.
But it’s not just about water. In order to raise the beef you need land, so forests get cut down, indigenous people often have their land stolen from them, and the water that should go to people who were living on the land is diverted for consumption by cattle or to raise crops that are used for cattle feed.
When you add to this the negative cost to your health from eating meat that has been highly processed and fortified with preservatives, the suffering of the animals, and the exploitation of low wage workers, that quarter pounder comes at a cost that is morally unaffordable.
So the next time you want to order a quarter pounder think about those 660 gallons of water it took to produce it. Ask yourself if you were only allowed one choice; two months of showers, or a burger, what would that choice be. Choosing the burger stinks in more ways than one.