The use of antibiotics in livestock is only one small part of how we are affected by this industry. According to a paper published in 1996, there are approximately 1.3 billion cattle on earth at any one time. They exist "artificially" in these vast numbers to satisfy the excessive human demand for their meat and byproducts. It takes an average of 2,500 gallons of water to produce a single pound of meat. According to Newsweek magazine, "the water that goes into a 1,000 pound steer could float a destroyer." In contrast, it takes only 25 gallons of water to produce one pound of wheat.
There are other harmful effects of the beef industry on the environment. Methane is one of the four greenhouse gasses that contributes to the environmental trend known as global warming. The 1.3 billion cattle produce one fifth of all the methane emitted into the atmosphere. It is estimated that 200 years ago, American farmland had topsoil that averaged 21 inches in depth. Today, only about 6 inches remain. Every year in the United States, an area the size of Connecticut is lost to topsoil erosion - 85% of which is associated with livestock production. The statistics go on and on. The issue of living conditions and methods of slaughter is also disturbing and worth investigating if you desire.