Double trouble – biodiversity losses, greater than thought

| 22 February 2024
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Baby elephant

This study looked at all European species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) red list of threatened species. They found a fifth of all species were at risk of extinction, with 24 per cent of invertebrates at risk, 27 per cent of all plants and 18 per cent of vertebrates.

Extrapolating this to make a global estimate suggests that two million species are at risk of extinction – double the UN’s 2019 estimate. The reason is animal agriculture! They say: “The finding of agricultural land-use change as a major threat to biodiversity has often been reported. However, our analysis is the most comprehensive and unequivocal to date, reaffirming the magnitude of the impact of this threat on a continental scale.”

Hochkirch A, Bilz M, Ferreira CC et al. 2023. A multi-taxon analysis of European Red Lists reveals major threats to biodiversity. PLoS One. 18 (11) e0293083.

About the author
Dr. Justine Butler
Justine joined Viva! in 2005 after graduating from Bristol University with a PhD in molecular biology. After working as a campaigner, then researcher and writer, she is now Viva!’s head of research and her work focuses on animals, the environment and health. Justine’s scientific training helps her research and write both in-depth scientific reports, such as White Lies and the Meat Report, as well as easy-to-read factsheets and myth-busting articles for consumer magazines and updates on the latest research. Justine also recently wrote the Vegan for the Planet guide for Viva!’s Vegan Now campaign.

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