how animal agriculture affects the environment

Contents

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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

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Answer

Does animal farming have negative effects on the environment?

 · Gases released by animal agriculture have contributed to the pollutants being added to the atmosphere and the overall resulting greenhouse effect. Animal agriculture is one of the leading causes of the release of methane, as well as carbon dioxide. Multiple studies agree that animal agriculture is the cause of 18 percent of emissions.

What are the problems of animal agriculture?

 · 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. At the time of writing, in the USA, livestock and poultry produce 120 million metric tons of manure in dry weight.

How does animal farming affect the environment?

 · Animal agriculture is already well-known to contribute to GHG emissions. Livestock’s Long Shadow, the widely-cited 2006 report by the United Nations FAO, estimated that 7,516 million metric tons per year of CO2 equivalents (CO2e), or 18% of annual worldwide GHG emissions, are attributable to farmed animals.

What are the effects of animal agriculture?

Animal agriculture is responsible for 18% of all human-Introduced greenhouse gas emissions and because we burn fossil fuels there is more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than there has been for the past 600,000 years. Methane comes from the animals and it is stronger than CO2.

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What effect does animal agriculture have on the environment?

Livestock emit almost 64% of total ammonia emissions, contributing significantly to acid rain and to acidification of ecosystems. Livestock are also a highly significant source of methane emissions, contributing 35–40% of methane emissions worldwide.

How does animal agriculture affect economy and the environment?

Raising livestock for human consumption generates nearly 15% of total global greenhouse gas emissions, which is greater than all the transportation emissions combined. It also uses nearly 70% of agricultural land which leads to being the major contributor to deforestation, biodiversity loss, and water pollution.

How animals can 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.

How much pollution does animal agriculture cause?

Animal agriculture is linked to: 55 percent of erosion; 60 percent of nitrogen pollution; and. 70 percent of the global dietary phosphorus footprint.

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%.

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).

Why is animals important to the environment?

Animals help maintain the Earth’s natural environments by predating upon plants and other animals , pollinating various plants and exhaling carbon dioxide , which green plants require to live. Additionally, animals help to fertilize plants via their droppings, which provide nutrition for plants.

What are the negative effects of animals?

Animals can have both positive and negative impacts on our health….Negative health impacts include:bites and other injuries.zoonotic diseases eg, ringworm, campylobacteriosis.allergies.antimicrobial resistance.

Is Animal Agriculture causing climate change?

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 pollute water?

The improper management of livestock wastes (manure) can cause surface and groundwater pollution. Water pollution from animal production systems can be by direct discharge, runoff, and/or seepage of pollutants to surface or ground water.

How does raising animals for food cause pollution?

Animal farms may produce food, but they also produce massive amounts of animal waste like urine and manure that emit around 400 different harmful gases into the atmosphere. Some of these gases include nitrous oxide, ammonia, particulate matter, endotoxins, and hydrogen sulfide.

What is the impact of animal agriculture industry on the economy?

Animal agriculture directly supported over 46,000 jobs, but considering all other jobs sustained by the industry, the total is nearly 83,000. That total labor activity produced the equivalent of $7.8 billion in value added (or GDP, gross domestic product) from $20 billion in total economic output.

How do animals affect the economy?

Imported live wild animals directly or indirectly affect many sectors of the U.S. economy (Table 1). They generate economic benefits by increasing resource productivity or the quantity or quality of outputs, or by reducing input costs.

How does livestock impact the economy?

Livestock production accounts for approximately 40 percent of the global agricultural gross domestic product. The livestock sector, including feed production and transport, is responsible for about 18 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.

How is agriculture bad for the economy?

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.

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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 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 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 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

How much of the nitrous oxide is produced by livestock?

Livestock is responsible for 65% of all human-related emissions of nitrous oxide – a greenhouse gas with 296 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide, and which stays in the atmosphere for 150 years. Emissions for agriculture projected to increase 80% by 2050.

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 do animals affect the environment?

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. At the time of writing, in the USA, livestock and poultry produce 120 million metric tons of manure in dry weight. Some researchers put the impact of animal agriculture at 27% of total human water usage globally for the production of livestock (including water used to grow the feed grains). When there are problems in management, livestock and poultry can reduce water quality. There is contamination of water from livestock and poultry facilities including phosphate and nitrate, pathogens (viruses, bacteria, and protozoa), antibiotics, and androgenic agents. Nitrates and phosphate contamination of waterways and estuaries is leading to algal blooms, eutrophication, and hypoxic areas. Antibiotics are used extensively in pig and poultry production while anabolic agents are used for cattle. Agriculture contributes 11% to global greenhouse gas emissions with ruminants adding methane. Among the gases from livestock and poultry that are potential problems are the following: carbon dioxide, ammonia, total reduced sulfur including hydrogen sulfide, and water vapor together with odors. The latter can be offensive to neighbors of farms and have the potential to impact human health. Moreover, viruses can be transmitted from animal facilities to humans via aerosol particles. Livestock contribute markedly to soil degradation with effects including erosion, salinization (due to freshwater removal), soil loss following erosion after deforestation or overgrazing, “compaction and crusting (of soils) can be caused by cattle trampling,” and waterlogging with water-impaired movement. Soil degradation related to livestock directly and indirectly is made up of overgrazing of rangeland (679 million ha globally) and deforestation (579 million ha globally).

How does livestock affect soil?

Livestock contribute markedly to soil degradation with effects including erosion, salinization (due to freshwater removal), soil loss following erosion after deforestation or overgrazing, “compaction and crusting (of soils) can be caused by cattle trampling,” and waterlogging with water-impaired movement.

When was phosphate applied to agricultural land in Asia?

Figure 18.2. Phosphate application to agricultural land in Asia in 1998–2000.

Why is green water used in crop production?

Usage of green water in crop production reduces the requirement for the precious blue water that can be used for drinking.

How does animal production affect water?

Animal production impacts water globally. Some researchers put the impact of animal agriculture at 27% of human water usage globally for the production of livestock (including water used to grow the feed grains) (Mekonnen and Hoekstra, 2011). Other researchers have much lower estimates, such as 8% (reviewed by Girard, 2012). While the basis of the difference in the estimates is unclear, it is undoubtedly the case that livestock and poultry production uses considerable amounts of global freshwater supplies. Table 18.1summarizes the amount of water required to produce food. Companies, such as Nestlé, are using water footprints as part of their sustainability audits (Nestle, 2015, White et al., 2015). The following are three pertinent additional points relative to water usage:

How does human activity affect freshwater?

All human activity impacts the quantity and quality of freshwater. This is the case whether we consider water for agriculture or specifically animal agriculture, manufacturing, or household use. The impact can be assessed by the water footprint in an analogous manner to the carbon footprint with water footprint being the amount of water used (evaporated or polluted). The total water footprint can be divided into the following (Hoekstra, 2012):

What are the problems with poultry?

Among the gases from livestock and poultry that are potential problems are the following: carbon dioxide, ammonia, total reduced sulfur including hydrogen sulfide, and water vapor together with odors. The latter can be offensive to neighbors of farms and have the potential to impact human health.

What are the three major emissions that are being created in excess by human activity?

When we talk about greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, there are three important emissions to address which are being created in excess by human activity which is contributing to climate change at a dire level; Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Methane (MH4) and Nitrous Oxide (N2O).

How much of the Earth’s land is forest?

A 2012 FAO report states that the last great ice age ended about 10,000 years ago, leaving forests on nearly 6 billion hectares, about 45% of the earth’s land area. However, has human population and activity increased, forests now only cover 31% of the earth’s land area.

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 some alternatives to animal products?

Fortunately, plant-based options abound to replace animals in a wide range of products, from cheese to milk to burgers and sausages. Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are two of the leading companies in the plant-based meat sector, helping the idea of plant-based meats go mainstream and helping people understand that it’s possible to achieve the BBQ-worthy tastes without the climate side-effects. Plant-based meats use up to 99 percent less land and emit up to 90 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

What are the threats to climate stability?

Because carbon emissions make up the vast majority (81 percent, as of 2018) of total greenhouse gases, they pose one of the gravest threats to climate stability. Although carbon is the greatest emitted by volume, other greenhouse gases can be much more potent.

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.

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 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 fossil fuel is used in animal production?

Fossil Fuels More than a third of all raw materials and fossil fuels consumed in the United States are used in animal production (“Ecological Cooking” by Joanne Stepaniak and Kathy Hecker) The production of one calorie of animal protein requires more than ten times the fossil fuel input as a calorie of plant protein.

How many times does animal protein need fossil fuel?

The production of one calorie of animal protein requires more than ten times the fossil fuel input as a calorie of plant protein. (The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition)

Is animal based food a humanitarian problem?

This is not just a problem that impacts our planet, it’s a humanitarian crisis. Our demand for animal based products is diverting precious resources like land, water and fossil fuels to produce farmed animals instead of feeding the estimated billion + people that are malnourished in the world.

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.

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.

Why are my factory farmed chickens deformed?

Studies show that their rapidly growing bodies stress their skeletons, cause health problems , and leave them deformed.

Which animal is the most slaughtered?

Let’s start with chickens as they are the most slaughtered land animal in the world.

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.

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.

Is animal agriculture bad for the environment?

It is responsible for the degradation of the environment and the acceleration of climate change. Beyond that, animal agriculture is terrible for human health. While people will always need to eat, it’s time we realize that there are other ways to go about it.

Resources and Production

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Animal agriculture puts a heavy strain on many of the Earth’s finite land, water and energy resources. In order to accommodate the70 billion animals raised annually for human consumption, a third of theplanet’s ice-free land surface, as well as nearly sixteen percent ofglobal freshwater, is devoted to growing livestock. Furthe…

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Consequences and Impacts

  • Tackling Climate Change Through Livestock, a widely-cited 2013 report by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), estimates about 14.5 percent of global GHG emissions, or 7.1 gigatons of CO2 equivalent, can be attributed to the livestock sector annually. This is broadly equivalent to the emissions from all the fuel burned by all theworld’s transport vehicles, includin…

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Mitigation and Action

  • Global GHG emissions from the livestock sectorincreased by 51 percentbetween 1961 and 2010, spurred by a 54 percent increase in methane and nitrous oxide emissions from livestock manure. 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 cur…

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