The Hidden Costs of Hamburgers

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Americans love hamburgers — we eat about three burgers a week. But what are the hidden environmental costs? See sources from the Center for Investigative Reporting.

Directed and produced by Carrie Ching, Reported by Sarah Terry-Cobo and Carrie Ching, Illustrated and animated by Arthur Jones.

This animation is part of The Food for 9 Billion series, a yearlong look at the challenge of feeding the world at a time of social and environmental change.

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26 Responses

  1. kirin-rex says:

    While I applaud people for wanting to be animal-free … I think it's very nice of you, very commendable, etc., … I'm sorry, but it's just not very realistic. I don't want to buy fur. I don't buy leather products anymore unless I feel it's necessary. I think conservation is great … but animal-FREE? Unless you literally throw away every modern thing you own, and clothe yourself in grass and leaves, you just CANNOT escape animal products.

    Virtually all plastic is made with animal blood to prevent it from being brittle.
    Virtually all synthetic rubber, including shoe soles and furniture bumpers, are made with animal blood because without it, the synthetic rubber gets flaky.
    Plastic shirt buttons almost always contain bone meal, because the plastic adheres to the bone particles, and it makes the buttons less brittle. Old buttons used to break across the holes all the time.

    And not just that: almost everything that contains some kind of paint, stain or varnish has animal products.

    It's in glue, candy, colored paper, x-ray film, porcelain, glass, water filters, crayons, toothpaste, chalk, soaps and skin creams and conditioners and lotions and detergents, wax, insecticide, garden products and herbicides, anti-freeze, cellophane, plastic bags, matches, linoleum …the list is ridiculous. You almost can't touch ANYTHING in modern society without putting your hand on something containing animal products.

    In fact, most of the time, "fake fur" is actually real fur, because artificial fur is more expensive than shaving a dog. They get around it by calling it "faux fox", and then using dog or cat fur, and saying "well, it's not actually fox, so it's "faux fox"!" And that gets you around the rules.

    Virtually everything I'm wearing right now, and virtually everything on my desk, it made with animal products.

    So while I commend people for reducing reliance on animals products and for trying to be sensible in their habits … we just have to realize that we live in an animal-based world, and without a magnificent leap in technology, we can't escape that.

  2. Ella Flames says:

    WE DO HAVE TO GIVE UP MEAT. A vegan world will save us all.

  3. HughieDixon says:

    All lies. Trump says so.

  4. Bryan Williams says:

    maybe I need to give up burgers

  5. Toby & Jenny says:


  6. Emma Coates says:

    America just give up beef!Please before it destroys our planet!Plus beef and other meat is disgusting!

  7. Rashana Kretzmann says:

    Go vegan!!

  8. Rashana Kretzmann says:

    Don't be apart of this!!

  9. RainbowMomentHealing says:


  10. Kesarx Ahmed says:

    Just go Hindus…

  11. Kesarx Ahmed says:

    Hindus save your gowmata…

  12. bonbon reme says:


  13. Mart Reynoso says:

    Starting today i wouldnt eat meat!

  14. WarmMilk says:

    Going vegan is literally the most cure all solution I've ever come across.
    Want to get healthy? Vegan.
    Want to help the environment? Vegan.
    Want to help our dieing oceans? Vegan.
    Trying to save the rainforest are we? Vegan.
    Ending World hunger? Vegan.
    Trying to stop 80billian animals suffering each year? Vegan.
    I hear cancer is a really big problem. Wonder how we can drastically lower our chances of it? Vegan.
    I hear we are going to run out of clean water in the next 40 years. Vegan.
    Too much space taken up by crop growth? Vegan.
    An obesity epidemic? Vegan.

  15. cermak cassidy says:

    The hidden cost of no one gives a fuck stop trying to save the world Jesus Christ already did that

  16. Derrick Hui says:

    This video need to be shared as much as possible!

  17. Void says:

    watching this while eating double-layered beef burger

  18. Gerald Legault says:

    Burgers are gross like all the other meats…I'll take a fruit smoothie anyday.

  19. tr3mayn says:

    big animals = big rewards
    ….however, those big animals also cost alot of resources to produce. :-

  20. j1202275 says:

    Stop the madness, go vegan!

  21. mr bear says:

    This is peta propaganda

  22. Kade Hidalgo says:

    explain this to me though we have and cattle for millions of years and global warming has only been a problem in the last few hundred years.

  23. Stephen Pagett says:

    Could someone please explain how they came up with the water consumption figure!!

  24. Carolina REYES says:

    What? No. grass- fed beef takes up even more land and releases even more Green house gas emissions

  25. Noelle Obcarskas says:

    Oh warnings about Climate change effects again today in the news…Go vegan…animal agriculture is the main cause of climate change…we have managed 70 percent reduction of all wildlife and even hedgehogs in the past 40 years alone due mainly to animal agriculture…takes at least 10 times more land alone to grow food for farm animals than if we ate it directly ourselves instead… 1 football pitch PER SECOND is currently being deforested for animal agriculture, an area 3 times the size of Denmark per year , forests are 30 percent left of the world surface, 20 percent of the world oxygen is produced by the amazon forest, uh oh hey …1000 gallons of water to produce 1 meat burger…1 cow drinks 30 liters of water per day and then comes the water for their plant foods needs…never mind taking shower instead of bath water savings hey…not eating 1 beefburger saves more water hey…The amazon forests are being destroyed mostly for planting farm animal feed for the rich pig burger etc eating populations of the world……(While the chief importers of Brazilian beef were previously Europe and North America, nowadays Asian countries such as China and Russia consume more Brazilian beef than the European market. So, the demand is increasing day by day. With increasing population and increased per capita meat consumption, the rate of deforestation is increasing every day as well. It is expected that by 2018, the beef export will increase 93 percent, thereby increasing Brazil’s beef market share of world exports to 61 percent. Beef is the most carbon-intensive form of meat production on the planet. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization finds that beef production gives rise to more greenhouse gases than the transportation industry)

  26. Sudhish Bangarusamy says:

    Hindus already have this problem sorted out lmao

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