1Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Did you know that livestock farming is responsible for 18% of human produced greenhouse gas emission? Greenhouse gasses create the greenhouse effect, which traps heat in the earth’s atmosphere. Scientists attribute excess greenhouse gasses, such as Carbon Dioxide and Methane, to climate change, which is causing changes in precipitation patterns, increase of droughts and heat waves, more intense hurricanes, rising sea levels, and more.
A shocking 1-2 acres of rainforest are destroyed every second to make room for animal rearing and agriculture. Indeed, deforestation is causing the extinction of many species of animals, since forests are the habitat 70% of the world’s plant and animal species. And in the Amazon rainforest—which boasts10% of the world’s biodiversity—almost all of the deforestation is caused by livestock. Other effects of deforestation include erosion, flooding, increased greenhouse gasses, and the description of homelands for indigenous people.
It’s hard to believe that approximately 30% of the earth’s surface is used for livestock farming. And much of this land has been desertified because of livestock. It means that arable land is consistently degraded, eventually turning it to unusable desert. As a result, food production is reduced, the of malnutrition rises, and the spread of infectious disease increases.
Livestock farming is a highly inefficient, unsustainable industry, requiring a massive amount of grain, water, and land. According to National Geographic, 70 percent of the planet is covered by water, yet only 2.5 percent of this water is drinkable. And today, billions of people lack access to safe drinking. One of the major causes of the depleting water supply is animal agriculture, seeing that one-third of water consumption is used for the production of animal products. To understand this statistic better, take this example: one 1/3 pound hamburger requires 660 gallons of water to produce. For some perspective, that amounts to two whole months of showering. On the other hand, producing a pound of soy requires 71% less water than producing a pound chicken.
5Health Side Effects
Industrial farming is keeping us sick. Literally. Across farms in America, antibiotics are being used to promote growth in animals and control infection. This has resulted in the growing problem of antibiotic resistant bacteria, known as “supergerms.” That means the antibiotics our doctors prescribe us may no longer work. Additionally, scientists have found a link between toxic chemicals in animal waste (found in large amounts at factory farms) and brain damage, birth defects, and depression.