For humans, the recent Harvard Health answer to How Much Water You Should Drink is 1.18 liters a day (slightly less than .5 gallons).
What about chickens?
In 2018, Statista estimates, 23.7 billion broiler and egg-laying chickens averaged about .5 liters per day over the course of their lives. Their daily total of 11.85-billion liters (3.13-billion gallon) intake was nearly 30 percent more than what earth’s 7.8 billion humans must drink each day.
But it gets even worse when we look beyond drinking water.
The water consumed to grow feed for cattle, chicken, and other livestock accounts for “… approximately 80 percent of the nation’s consumptive water use and over 90 percent in many Western states.”
In 2010 alone, we extracted an estimated 27.7 trillion gallons of water from the United States’ largest fresh-water aquifer, the Ogallala. The year before that, the U.S. Geological Survey measured the Ogallala’s total volume at 2.9 billion acre-feet or 978 trillion gallons.
Continuing to deplete it at the 2010 rate would drain the Ogallala completely by 2045. Replenishing could require a clearly unsustainable 6,000 years of rainfall.
It’s part of human nature for every generation to wonder how their predecessors could have made such foolish decisions. Will future generations label our time as “The Age of Consumption?”
Consumption means “The using up of a resource.”
It doesn’t take a chicken brain to see that the waste and inefficiency of raising livestock for food is staggering. Those of us who eat plant-based must point the way to a world where eating any animal (chickens included!) is just not worth the loss of our most precious resources.