We don’t talk enough about the harmful effects of animal agriculture. Most environmental organizations focus on reducing the CO2 in our atmosphere by encouraging alternative sources of transportation, adopting sustainable land use practices, and on developing and making widely available alternative energy sources. Does it seem odd to you that so LITTLE attention is given to the elephant (er…cow) in the room?
According to the EPA, agriculture, forestry, and other land use contributed to 24% of the global greenhouse gases. They go on to state that the MAJORITY of the greenhouse gas emitted from this sector is in the form of ANIMAL AGRICULTURE and deforestation. Great. In comparison, transportation is only attributed to 14% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
According to a study published by the United Nations, “Cattle-rearing generates more
global warming greenhouse gases, as measured in CO2 equivalent, than transportation, and smarter production methods, including improved animal diets to reduce enteric fermentation and consequent methane emissions, are urgently needed.
In addition to the dramatic generation of CO2 by the animal agriculture industry, it is also a leading cause of deforestation, water consumption and pollution. Oh, and it takes 10 pounds of grain to produce just ONE POUND of meat. And much of this cattle production is taking place in countries and regions with major poverty and hunger concerns. Their land is being used to produce cattle, which is sold to richer neighboring nations, rather than to produce real food to nourish their own.
Who is responsible for this seeming cover-up? Is the meat and dairy industry? Other environmental non-profits who feel that their cause is the most compelling with regard to climate change?
I loved the movie Cowspiracy, and it really did pique my interest in this topic. I have eaten a vegetarian diet off-and-on for years, but I’m taking it much more seriously now. I cannot simply turn a blind eye to this madness. I make dozens of food choices every day, and I base my decisions on three factors:
- The horrendous and appaling treatment of most animals who are being raised to serve the insatiable appetite of the human population for meat and dairy products
- The hormones fed to or injected in the animals that we ultimately consume
- The disastrous effects that the animal agriculture industry is having on the environment
I’m really passionate about this topic, so you are sure to hear more about it in future posts!