The environmental case against raising animals for food becomes increasingly stronger as more and more research emerges. A closer look at the finer points on the comparative water usage between livestock and plants highlights this correlation quite clearly.
According to researchers recently cited in a Mother Jones article, beef has a water footprint of 15,415 cubic meters/ton. The water footprint for "sugar crops" is 197 cubic meters/ton; for vegetables it's 240 cubic meters/ton. This dramatic disparity alone raises serious questions as to why anyone seeking to analyze the current California drought would highlight the water footprint of nuts-admittedly, a relatively high 9,063 cubic meters/ton-when cattle consume so much of California's scarce water supply, most of it in the form of alfalfa. Doing so strikes me as a case of distraction journalism.