how animal agriculture affects our planet



Animal agriculture is linked to:

  • 55 percent of erosion;
  • 60 percent of nitrogen pollution; and
  • 70 percent of the global dietary phosphorus footprint.

Animal agriculture is the second largest contributor to human-made greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions after fossil fuels and is a leading cause of deforestation, water and air pollution and biodiversity loss.May 10, 2016


How animal agriculture is draining the world of biodiversity?

 · Animal agriculture, or the raising of livestock for food, is responsible for 30% of the entire world’s water consumption, uses 45% of the Earth’s land, is the cause of 91% of the destruction of the Amazon rain forest and is the leading cause of ocean dead zones.

What is animal farming and how does it affect us?

 · How animal agriculture affects our planet? One of animal agriculture’s greatest environmental impacts is its contribution to global warming and climate change. In nearly every step of meat, egg, and milk production, climate-changing gases are released into the atmosphere, potentially disrupting weather, temperature, and ecosystem health.

What are the problems of animal agriculture?

Greenhouse Gases. Animal agriculture is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, more than the combined exhaust from all transportation. Livestock and their byproducts account for at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, or 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.

Is animal agriculture the leading cause of species extinction?

 · Industrial animal agriculture is responsible for the suffering and slaughter of trillions of animals each and every year around the globe. It is responsible for the degradation of the environment and the acceleration of climate change. Beyond that, animal agriculture is terrible for human health.


How does animal agriculture affect the environment?

Animal agriculture produces 65% of the world’s nitrous oxide emissions which has a global warming impact 296 times greater than carbon dioxide. Raising livestock for human consumption generates nearly 15% of total global greenhouse gas emissions, which is greater than all the transportation emissions combined.

How does agriculture affect the planet?

Pollution. Agriculture is the leading source of pollution in many countries. Pesticides, fertilizers and other toxic farm chemicals can poison fresh water, marine ecosystems, air and soil. They also can remain in the environment for generations.

How do animals affect the environment?

Summary. All animals influence the environment to varying extents. The production of livestock and poultry has marked impacts on the environment influencing water, air, and soil. Manure or animal waste is the predominant source of concern particularly with intensive animal agriculture.

How is animal agriculture destroying the planet?

Animal agriculture is the number one source of methane worldwide, and methane is 21 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than CO2. Animal agriculture produces more than 100 million tons of methane a year. 51 percent or more of global greenhouse-gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture.

What are the impact of agriculture on land use and environment?

Agriculture releases significant amounts of greenhouse gases and ammonia emission to the atmosphere. It is the single largest user of freshwater resources. Intensive management practices escalating rates of land degradation, soil and water deterioration.

What are the positive and negative effects of agriculture?

While negative impacts are serious, and can include pollution and degradation of soil, water, and air, agriculture can also positively impact the environment, for instance by trapping greenhouse gases within crops and soils, or mitigating flood risks through the adoption of certain farming practices.

How do animals change the world?

From tiny termites to woolly mammoths, all animals past and present have helped to shape the environments in which they live. From the food they eat to the waste they leave behind, often these impacts are not just small scale, but extend to entire ecosystems.

What is animal agriculture farming?

Animal agriculture involves holding animals hostage simply so humans can eat their meat or their secretions, such as milk and eggs. Animals are dominated and controlled for their entire lives on these factory farms, also known as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs).

What role does animals play in the ecosystem?

Animals help plants reproduce by carrying pollen from plant-to-plant and by spreading seeds. Animals that eat insects and small mammals help reduce damage by caterpillars, rabbits, and other plant-eaters.

How does animal agriculture affect global warming?

Raising livestock for meat, eggs and milk generates 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, the second highest source of emissions and greater than all transportation combined. It also uses about 70% of agricultural land, and is one of the leading causes of deforestation, biodiversity loss, and water pollution.

Is animal agriculture causing global warming?

Scientific consensus shows that animal agriculture is responsible for 14.5-16.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions and causes significant environmental degradation, from biodiversity loss to deforestation.

How does animal agriculture affect deforestation?

Three-quarters is driven by agriculture. Beef production is responsible for 41% of deforestation; palm oil and soybeans account for another 18%; and logging for paper and wood across the tropics, another 13%.

How does agricultural help the environment?

In addition to preserving the earth’s natural resources, sustainable agriculture benefits the environment through helping maintain soil quality, reducing erosion, and preserving water.

How does agriculture activities destroy the environment?

Such farming practices, by and large, depleted and degraded soil, reduced biodiversity (e.g., disappearance of crop diversification) and produced water and air pollution, degrading the environment and posing a health threat to farmworkers and consumers.

Does agriculture cause global warming?

Agriculture is a significant contributor to anthropogenic global warming, and reducing agricultural emissions—largely methane and nitrous oxide—could play a significant role in climate change mitigation.

What are the impacts of agriculture to the society?

The result is that agriculture globally exerts increasing pressure on the land and water resources of the earth, which often results in land degradation (such as soil erosion and salinization), and eutrophication. Agriculture is also associated with greenhouse gas emissions (Kirchmann and Thorvaldsson 2000).


Why is agriculture the gravest mistake in the world?

Unless greenhouse gas emissions are seriously curbed, the world is going to be a far more difficult place to endure.

What percent of the world’s land is used for agriculture?

Land Use. A full 50 percent of the world’s livable land – meaning land that is ice-free and fertile – is being used for agriculture. No other human activity takes up more space. In contrast, all urban areas account for around one percent of livable land use.

How much carbon dioxide is produced by livestock?

Farmed animals – referred to as livestock – generate over 14 percent of all anthropogenic emissions, with estimated totals hovering around seven gigatonnes of carbon dioxide emitted every year. The bulk of these emissions are due to raising cattle for meat and dairy, contributing 60 percent of total livestock emissions. These emissions are thanks to the vast amounts of resources cows consume, the land they require for pasture (in the case of beef cattle), and other manure they produce. Cow manure contains nitrous oxide and methane, the latter being one of the most potent greenhouse gasses due to its outsized ability to absorb heat.

What are the environmental effects of monocrops?

Vast fields of monocrops also cause a host of environmental effects, including air pollution. Pesticides and herbicides are sprayed in liberal amounts, which can cause a host of debilitating illnesses, including cancers, for farmworkers and surrounding communities. Soil depletion is also a serious looming issue.

How much of the world’s calories are consumed from land use?

Surprisingly, this huge expenditure of resources and land use provides only 18 percent of the world’s calories. Land used for any type of agriculture – be it livestock or crops meant for people or animals – is brought under cultivation by clearing forests and grasslands, which are carbon sinks due to their abilities to absorb carbon.

What are the animals that are taken from the sea?

Marine life, including fish, shellfish, shrimp, and other animals are taken from the seas in astronomical numbers. Nets, some of which are large enough to contain 12 jumbo jet airplanes, are dragged through the water or across the bottom of the seafloor, capturing everything in their path.

When did agriculture start?

The earliest signs of agriculture can be dated at around 12,000 years ago, yet since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, agriculture has taken on an entirely new face, adopting intensive practices such as concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) which foster truly heartbreaking conditions for farmworkers, animals, and surrounding communities alike.

How does animal agriculture affect the environment?

Animal agriculture contributes to species extinction in many ways. In addition to the monumental habitat destruction caused by clearing forests and converting land to grow feed crops and for animal grazing, predators and “competition” species are frequently targeted and hunted because of a perceived threat to livestock profits. The widespread use of pesticides, herbicides and chemical fertilizers used in the production of feed crops often interferes with the reproductive systems of animals and poison waterways. The over-exploitation of wild species through commercial fishing, bush meat trade as well as animal agriculture’s impact on climate change, all contribute to global depletion of species and resources

What are the causes of rainforest destruction?

The leading causes of rainforest destruction are livestock and feedcrops. Up to 137 plant, animal, and insect species are lost every day due to rainforest destruction. 136 million rainforest acres cleared for animal agriculture. 1,100 Land activists have been killed in Brazil in the past 20 years.

What are the major contributors to the civilization busters that threaten planetary boundaries?

Livestock production is a major contributor to the civilization busters that threaten planetary boundaries: biodiversity loss, nitrogen pollution, deforestation, climate change and ocean health.

Can we continue to raise livestock?

Maintaining a safe climate and healthy, productive ecosystems is no longer possible if we continue to raise livestock.

Is it difficult to look for alternatives to fossil fuels?

Unlike fossil fuels, it is difficult to look for alternatives: people have to eat.

How has animal agriculture made it possible for food corporations to turn farms into efficient factories?

The advent of industrial animal agriculture has made it possible for food corporations to turn farms into efficient factories, by doing so, disregarding the fact that they are dealing with sentient beings and forcing them to endure a lifetime of suffering and cruelty.

What would happen if people cared about animals?

If they care about animals, they wouldn’t breed them into existence for imminent slaughter in the first place.

Why do multinationals have complete control over their own production?

And because they are able to contract the dwindling number of farms to produce animal products their way , they have complete control.

Why don’t humans need animals?

Humans don’t need to consume animals in order to be healthy and survive. And we certainly don’t need to treat animals like machinery or commodities. Industrial animal agriculture is responsible for the suffering and slaughter of trillions of animals each and every year around the globe. It is responsible for the degradation …

How does factory farming maximize profits?

Factory farming, from a business perspective, is a brilliant way to maximize profits by dramatically increasing the supply while at the same time bringing down production costs. And if factory farming was dealing with the production of cotton T-shirts or toys then it wouldn’t be as objectionable as it is.

What is factory farming?

Factory farming is the answer corporations found when the question was about turning animal agriculture into an industrial operation.

Why do farmers treat animals the same as workers treat equipment or machinery in a factory?

By treating farm animals the same as workers treat equipment or machinery in a factory, farmers are able to raise and produce animals at extraordinary rates. Doing so makes it final product, clothing or food in most cases, significantly cheaper for the consumer.

How does animal agriculture affect the Earth?

Animal agriculture puts a heavy strain on many of the Earth’s finite land, water and energy resources. In order to accommodate the 70 billion animals raised annually for human consumption, a third of the planet’s ice-free land surface, as well as nearly sixteen percent of global freshwater, is devoted to growing livestock. Furthermore, a third of worldwide grain production is used to feed livestock. By 2050, consumption of meat and dairy products is expected to rise 76 and 64 percent respectively, which will increase the resource burden from the industry. Cattle are by far the biggest source of emissions from animal agriculture, with one recent study showing that in an average American diet, beef consumption creates 1,984 pounds of CO2e annually. Replacing beef with plants would reduce that figure 96 percent, bringing it down to just 73 pounds of CO2e.

What percentage of carbon dioxide is produced by animal agriculture?

Animal agriculture specifically: Accounts for five percent of global anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions; Represents 44 percent of anthropogenic methane emissions, the primary driver of climate change related to livestock, as methane is 34 times more potent than carbon dioxide over 100 years; Comprises 44 percent of all anthropogenic nitrous …

How much carbon dioxide is wasted in the world?

Moreover, approximately one gigaton of carbon dioxide equivalent worth of animal-based foods is wasted globally every year. If global consumption of meat and dairy continues to grow at the current pace, the agriculture sector could consume about 70 percent of the allowable budget for all GHG emissions by mid-century.

What is the biggest contributor to global water pollution?

Furthermore, air and water pollution can be directly attributed to the livestock sector, which is the largest contributor to global water pollution. The livestock sector is also one of the leading drivers of global deforestation, and is linked to 75 percent of historic deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest.

How much of the world’s sewage is produced by livestock?

Further amplifying water and air pollution, global livestock produce seven to nine times more sewage than humans, most of which is left untreated. They also discharge pesticides, antibiotics, and heavy metals into water systems. 70 percent of the global dietary phosphorus footprint.

What percentage of the global dietary phosphorus footprint is dietary?

70 percent of the global dietary phosphorus footprint. Concentrated animal farming operations present additional public health risks to nearby communities, as viral diseases may spread from sick livestock to humans and the increased use of antibiotics encourages antibiotic resistance.

How does ammonia affect livestock?

In addition to these greenhouse gases, livestock is responsible for 64% of ammonia emissions. This poses two major problems. First, ammonia is an irritant, for the respiratory system of animals but humans as well, and can causes many diseases in livestock (chronic bronchitis, asthma, pulmonary fibrosis…) which can also affect the breeders. Then, dissolved in precipitation, ammonia contributes significantly to acid rain and ecosystem acidification. This acidification disrupts photosynthesis and destroys nutrients in soils and water, causing the loss of forests, lakes, rivers… Some aquatic species, very sensitive to PH, will disappear in the following years. A 1999 report on the state of Europe’s forests indicated that 20% of the land is very acid, 2/3 of the forest is damaged and 21.4% defoliated by at least 25%.

What is intensive agriculture?

Intensive agriculture is responsible for the concentration of nitrates and phosphates in our soils, seas or rivers. This pollution comes on the one hand from the mineral fertilizers used for plants (they facilitate their growth) and on the other hand from animal excrement. As with pesticides, nitrates and phosphates enter the ground and then contaminate the water by infiltration.

How do pesticides fall back?

Part of the product is also lost in the atmosphere, by flotation or by evaporation. With winds or hidden in clouds, pesticide residues then fall back on soils and waters at big distances from the application area. Theoretically, pesticides are supposed to target the plant or animal species to be destroyed. However, by interfering in processes of metabolism, like photosynthesis, growth or reproduction, for instance, they can harm every type of species that has the same particularities as the target species.

How much more food will be needed in 2050?

According to scientists, the world in 2050 will need a 70% increase of the production to feed every human on this planet.

What are the consequences of water pollution?

The most visible consequence of this water pollution is probably the phenomenon of “eutrophication”. Due to the overabundance of nutrients, it is very easy for a plant to grow, especially green algae that are harmful for the planet. Indeed this green mass creates a screen that prevents the light from passing. Eutrophication then generates another phenomenon, that is dystrophication: the photosynthetic activity is reduced in the first meters under the surface, so oxygen becomes rare and living beings die.

When did intensive farming begin?

Appeared in the 50s, in USA, intensive farming continued to develop and appeared in Europe in the 60s. Increased profitability for producers, lower costs for consumers, followers of economic liberalism were in love with this new production system. But this process is full of negative externalities which are starting to negatives effects for our health and our planet in general.

Should pesticides be banned?

Since not all pesticides have the same toxicity and persistence, the most dangerous products should normally be banned. The problem is that the toxicity studies are made by the manufacturers themselves, and the European Union does not check all these studies. Thus, when after several decades of use, the toxicity of a product or its accumulation in the food chain is proven, a new product takes over, sometimes just with a new name but same molecules.

What are the effects of animals on small areas of land?

In addition, the massive amount of animals produced on small areas of land is unsustainable and leads to reduced soil fertility and desertification, a loss of plants and the inability to regrow lost flora.

What are the protests against animal agriculture?

Activists protesting against animal agriculture. Animal agriculture involves the production of livestock and animal by-products for human consumption. Huge tracts of land and millions of gallons of water are needed to grow, feed, and raise these animals. The environmental impact of this practice is detrimental to the land, air, …

How much waste does a dairy cow produce?

These cows produce approximately 120 pounds of waste per cow per day. In the US, farmers are raising around 9 million dairy cows, which means 1.08 billion pounds of waste daily. To put it into perspective, a farm with only 2,500 cows produces the same amount of waste as a city of around 400,000 people.

What animals are raised to fulfill demands for meat and by-products like cheese and eggs?

Various types of animals are raised to fulfill demands for meat and by-products like cheese and eggs. Typical livestock includes pigs, beef cows, dairy cows, poultry (like chickens and turkeys), goats, and sheep. The following information identifies the environmental impact and waste production of the US-based factory farming of each of these animals.

How much solid waste is produced by pigs?

Thus 938 million pounds of solid waste produced daily by pigs. While toxic fumes are a big problem for all livestock, ammonia is of particular concern on pig farms. Ammonia increases smog levels and causes respiratory illnesses like asthma and lung inflammation.

How many cows are there in the US?

Cattle. Cattle raised for meat produce less than lactating cows. However, there are 90 million of them in the US. This large number of animals combined with the 63 pounds of waste each one produces on a daily basis ends up at 5.67 billion pounds every day.

What are the animals that make up the US livestock?

Sheep and Goat. Not commonly considered as having a big role in US livestock production, the sheep and goat population is as big as the population of dairy cows. These animals also produce massive amounts of waste. Each sheep and goat create 5 pounds of waste daily. When multiplied by the 9 million animals in the country, …

Where are animals transported?

Animals are transported in semi-trucks and processed in large factory-style slaughterhouses, and their body parts are packaged and shipped across the country.

What are water and land used for?

Water and land are used to grow crops to feed animals.

Does reusable bags affect the environment?

While using public transportation, shopping with reusable bags, and taking shorter showers are all commendable, none of these actions has as big an impact on the environment as what you eat does. When it comes to the climate crisis, animal agriculture is a leading culprit.

Does raising animals for food harm the environment?

The National Audubon Society, the Worldwatch Institute, the Sierra Club, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and even Al Gore’s Live Earth say that raising animals for food damages the environment more than just about anything else that we do. The good news is you don’t have to buy a hybrid car or let “the yellow mellow” in the toilet all day in order to make a difference. You have the power to help the planet every time you sit down to eat!

How Does Animal Agriculture Affect The Environment

Impact of Animal Agriculture on Climate Change

How Do Greenhouse Gases Affect The Climate?

Can Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Animal Agriculture Be Reduced?

Animal Agriculture and Global Warming

  • Flying in planes or driving SUVs have long been understood as having negative impacts on the global climate. While these are certainly deserving of critique and change, the agriculture sector deserves time in the spotlight. If industrial agriculture continues to grow unchecked, global warming will increase – with potentially disastrous impacts, the…

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