A scientific study performed by researchers at Cranfield University found that may foods that are substituted for meat in a vegetarian diet do more actual damage to the environment than does the farming of animals for meat.
Cranfield University has three campuses: two in Bedfordshire (Cranfield and Silsoe) and one in Wiltshire (Shrivenham). The main campus is in Canfield, Bedfordshire.
The study, which was paid for by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), a wildlife conservation and endangered species group (based out of Washington, D.C.), found that meat substitutes, like chickpeas, lentils, and soy, used in vegetarian (meat-free) diets do more harm to the overall environment of Earth than does diets where people consume meat.
The researchers say that because these vegetarian staples are imported into the United Kingdom from overseas, they do more harm to the general environment of Earth than does cows and lamb and other animals raised for food within the United Kingdom.
The February 12, 2010 Telegraph.co.uk article 'Becoming vegetarian 'can harm the environment'' states that 'An increase in vegetarianism could result in the collapse of British farming.'
The study concluded, as stated by the Telegraph, 'A switch from beef and milk to highly refined livestock product analogues such as tofu could actually increase the quantity of arable land needed to supply the UK."
Page two continues with the specific reasons why these U.K. researchers made this conclusion.