Love Thy Planet

Animal Agriculture And What It’s Doing To The Environment

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When I first went vegan almost 3 years ago it was strictly for ethical reasons. And it wasn’t like I woke up one day and said to myself, “Hey, I think I’ll go vegan!”. No, that did not happen. What did happen was suddenly the smell of meat grossed me out so I stopped eating it. This was shortly before I checked myself into the hospital in June of 2014 (You can read that story here.). While in the hospital I was chatting with one of the CNA’s after a nutrition group. Some how veganism and factory farming came up in the conversation and what she told me was appalling.

Once I got home I started to do my own research and read this book, Skinny Bitch* by Rory Freedman and Kim Barnouin. Well, now was I not only appalled but horrified and disgusted at what some human beings will do to make a buck. I’m not going to give you details though. If you would like to really know what goes on in many, many factory farms around the world you can read the book I just mentioned or check out the PETA website. Needless to say I haven’t eaten meat since and will NEVER eat meat again.

But this post isn’t about cruelty to animals, it’s about our environment and what the factory farming empire is doing to it. So if you can turn a blind eye to the inhumanity that goes on in factory farms, let’s see if you can ignore these statistics. It’s quite apparent that meat is not a sustainable food source. Far, far from it in fact. Do I feel everyone should be vegan? Hell yea!! But I know that’s not being realistic. What is realistic is this, you don’t need to eat meat everyday. Cutting your meat consumption to 2-3 times a week would save you money and, if everyone was on board, have a huge impact on the environment and slow down global warming (Which, btw, is a VERY real thing Mr. President!!).

Now these statistics come from the documentary, Cowspiracy, that was executive produced by Leonardo DiCaprio. He is a huge presence in the fight to stop global warming and I’m pretty sure he’s not blowing smoke with these statistics trying to make a dollar. Just an observation. Okay, enough of this chit-chat and let’s get down to stats, shall we?

Animal agriculture is the most destructive industry facing the planet today!

Climate Change

  • A plant based diet will cut your carbon footprint by 50%.

Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions:

  • 13% Come from transportation- Air, road, rail, marine combined.
  • 51% From livestock and their byproducts.
  • Livestock is responsible for 65% of nitrous oxide- a greenhouse gas that is 296x more destructive than CO2.

Water Consumption

  • 5% of water used in the US is domestic use.
  • 55% goes to animal agriculture.
  • Animal Agriculture is responsible for 20%-33% of all fresh water consumption in the world today.  
  • Animal agriculture water consumption ranges from 34-76 trillion gallons annually.
  • 2,500 gallons of water are needed to produce 1 pound of beef.
  • Almost 900 gallons of water are needed to make 1 pound of cheese.
  • You’re looking at 477 gallons of water to get a dozen eggs.
  • And about 1000 gallons of water to make 1 gallon of milk.

Land Use

  • Livestock or livestock feed occupies 1/3 of the earth’s ice-free land.
  • Animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, habitat destruction and water pollution.
  • There are more than 500 nitrogen flooded ocean dead zones across the globe directly caused from livestock operations.
  • 1/3 of the planet is desertified, with livestock as the leading driver.
  • Nearly half of the land in the contiguous US is devoted to animal agriculture.

Waste

  • Waste from 2500 cows is equal to the waste from a city of 400,000 people.
  • Every minute 7 million pound of excrement is produced by animals raised for food.
  • 130 Times more animal waste is produced than human waste in the USA.- 1.4 billion tons annually from the meat industry.

Oceans

  • 90 Million tons of fish are pulled from our oceans annually.
  • 3/4 Of the worlds fisheries are exploited.
  • We could very well see fishless oceans by 2048.
  • Upwards of 2.7 trillion animals are caught each year.
  • For every one pound of fish caught, 5 pounds of unintended species are caught and discarded as by-kill.
  • 40-50 Million sharks are killed yearly in fishing lines and nets.
  • Scientists estimate approximately 650,000 whales, seals, and dolphins are killed annually by fishing vessels.

Species Extinction

  • Animal agriculture is the leading cause of: species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution and habitat destruction.
  • Up to 137 animal and insect species are lost everyday due to deforestation.

Deforestation

  • Animal agriculture is responsible for 91% of the destruction of the Amazon rain forest.
  • 1-2 Acres of rain forest are cleared every second! Not minute, second!!
  • The leading cause of rain forest destruction is for livestock and feed crops.
  • 136 Million acres of land is cleared for animal agriculture. 26 Million for palm oil production.
Here’s a couple extra bits of info I though were interesting and wanted to share:
  • Ten thousand years ago, 99% of biomass (i.e. all living animals including humans) was wild animals. Today, humans and the animals that we raise as food make up 98% of the biomass. WOW!
  • 80% Of antibiotics sold in the US is for livestock.
  • This one is chilling: World population in 1812 was 1  billion, in 1912 it jumped to 1.5 billion. The world population now is 7.5 billion. Y’all, what are we rabbits?
  • We are currently growing enough food to feed 10 billion people. Um, so why do we have people going hungry.
  • This is another good one: 82% of starving children live in countries where food is fed to animals and then the animals are eaten by us. Does anyone else see a problem with that?

So there you have it. The logistics of the meat and dairy industry is so twisted. We could be feeding the world and saving the planet at the same time, but people don’t see it that way. They only see dollar signs. Not caring what the world is going to be like for their grand children. It’s sad but all I can do is my part and hope you step up to do yours. Start with just cutting your meat intake to 2-3 days a week and see what happens. Believe me, your body will love you for it!

Do you have any thoughts one the matter? I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below. Till next time!

Kristine xoxo

 

 

 

 

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