How does animal agriculture affect the ocean

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As a primary driver of global warming – more than cars – animal agriculture is directly affecting the global ocean in two ways. First, the rising atmospheric temperature is raising global ocean temperatures leading to widespread coral bleaching.

Essentially, the once-fresh inputs of clean, natural water into the ocean are being replaced by flows of polluted farm runoff. And on a massive scale. It’s no wonder that animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution and habitat destruction, according to the EPA.Feb 12, 2015

Full
Answer

Why is animal agriculture bad for the ocean?

It’s no wonder that animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution and habitat destruction, according to the EPA. What can we do in the face of such large-scale destructive practices that harm the ocean?

What is the impact of animal agriculture on water resources?

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).

How do our actions on land affect the ocean?

We often forget that our actions on land always affect the ocean. The effects can be positive; for example, by banning plastic bags, municipalities are helping reduce the roughly 20 billion pounds of plastic that enter the ocean every year. That’s great news and the deplastification movement is thankfully picking up steam.

What’s the role of factory farming in ocean degradation?

– Mission Blue What’s the role of factory farming in ocean degradation? We often forget that our actions on land always affect the ocean. The effects can be positive; for example, by banning plastic bags, municipalities are helping reduce the roughly 20 billion pounds of plastic that enter the ocean every year.

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How does agriculture affect ocean pollution?

In addition, other pollutants like fertilizers, pesticides, and heavy metals are often attached to the soil particles and wash into the water bodies, causing algal blooms and depleted oxygen, which is deadly to most aquatic life.


How does animal agriculture affect the environment?

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.


How does agriculture affect the water?

Agricultural practices may also have negative impacts on water quality. Improper agricultural methods may elevate concentrations of nutrients, fecal coliforms, and sediment loads. Increased nutrient loading from animal waste can lead to eutrophication of water bodies which may eventually damage aquatic ecosystems.


Does Animal Agriculture cause ocean dead zones?

Some ocean dead zones occur naturally, and are caused by natural nutrient upwelling and/or shifting of routine wind and water patterns. However, the majority of dead zones worldwide are a direct result of farm animal agricultural practices.


How does animal agriculture cause or contribute to environmental issues challenges?

There are serious environmental impacts and destruction of biodiversity due to the agriculture-related deforestation. The deforestation of the Amazon rainforest to create land for the large-scale livestock rearing for meat destroys the water catchment area, leading to the water shortages and global warming.


How animal agriculture is 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 does agriculture add to water pollution?

Agriculture as a water polluter: cause Pesticides and fertilizers used in agriculture can contaminate both groundwater and surface water, as can organic livestock wastes, antibiotics, silage effluents, and processing wastes from plantation crops.


How does agriculture cause water scarcity?

Decreased Water Availability for Agriculture In addition, surface and groundwater supplies may decline during drought, affecting water availability and increasing costs to access water for crop or forage irrigation and watering livestock.


How agricultural activities contribute to water pollution?

The farmers use pesticides, fungicides, fertilizers directly on the farm that contaminate water and cause atmospheric deposition. The runoff from the farms is the main reason why water bodies are polluted. Rainwater enables the sediment of the farms to drain to nearby water bodies like lakes and rivers.


How does meat affect the ocean?

Meat farming contributes to Greenhouse Gases causing our atmosphere to heat up rapidly which, in turn, disrupts the natural ecosystems of our planet. Many Ocean habitats, such as coral reefs, have already been lost or put at risk due to climate change.


How does cattle farming affect the oceans?

Intensive farming has widespread negative consequences on the marine ecosystem and water supply. Runoff from barnyards and feedlots can carry manure into our water system heightening the risk of E. coli and can cause toxic algal blooms that can destroy marine life.


What causes ocean dead zones?

Dead zones are generally caused by significant nutrient pollution, and are primarily a problem for bays, lakes and coastal waters since they receive excess nutrients from upstream sources. Excess nitrogen and phosphorus cause an overgrowth of algae in a short period of time, also called algae blooms.


How does animal agriculture affect the waterways?

Animal agriculture certainly play s a major role in contributing the excess nutrients to waterways where dead zones occur .


Why do animals move away from dead zones?

Others can’t move or are unable to find better oxygen levels before they suffocate. As animals die, bacteria decomposes their bodies, and more oxygen is eaten up in the process. It’s a vicious cycle.


What happens when algae dies?

Extra nitrogen and phosphorous encourage algae growth which results in algal blooms. As the algae dies, bacteria begin to decompose the algae. Much of the dissolved oxygen in the water gets used up in this process, causing drops in oxygen or hypoxic conditions.


Why do cows poo?

There’s a reason those cows and pigs are pooping and it’s the cause of some of the extra burden of nitrogen and phosphorus the ecosystem is forced to handle. An estimated 85 percent of soybean production worldwidegoes into livestock feed. And an estimated 80 percent of U.S.-produced cornends up as animal feed.


Is algae bloom dangerous?

The algae bloom itself can be dangerous depending on the algae species that are rapidly multiplying. If it’s a species that produces toxins, the resulting bloom is termed a harmful algal bloom (HAB). These toxins can sicken and kill shellfish, fish, turtles, birds, marine mammals, and any other animal in the region.


Do dead zones move with tides?

Dead zones can fluctuate in size with the seasons and move with the tides, but their presence is essentially guaranteed in areas where excess nutrients from conventional agricultural operationsenter waterways. Advertisement. The Making of a Dead Zone.


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.


How much manure does livestock produce?

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).


What is the main nutrient in the Mississippi River?

The addition of plant nutrients, particularly nitrate from rivers, can lead rapidly to a bloom of phytoplankton ( Beman et al., 2005 ). Nitrate is the principal plant nutrient in the drainage of the Mississippi River basin that is responsible for hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico ( Burkart and James, 1998 ).


What are the nutrients that help algae grow?

Just as nitrogen, potassium, and phosphate are essential nutrients for plants on land, they are also nutrients for algae. The rate of algal growth is dependent on the availability of plant nutrients. In freshwater, phosphate is likely to be the limiting nutrient for algal growth.


Why is ammonia released from cattle?

This is due in part to bacterial breakdown of urea or uric acid in the urine of the animals.


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.


How does animal agriculture affect the world?

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. It is causing habitat destruction and species extinction for up to 100 species per day in the Amazon. One acre of forest is cleared every second to make space for cattle grazing, and it is predicted that in 10 years the Amazon may be completely destroyed and devoid of all previous life.


How much waste does a cow produce?

Cattle produce 130x the amount of waste than that the entire human population–with no waste treatment. 116,000 pounds of excrement are produced every second, which runs off into the oceans, causing hundreds of “dead zones” that are completely devoid of any life. What doesn’t run off into streams is left for them to walk in for the rest of their short lives.


Is overfishing a problem?

This isn’t just happening on land, either; overfishing is also a major problem , and ecosystems are dying everyday. For every pound of fish caught, five pounds of other species are caught by accident, called “by-kill,” such as sharks, sea turtles, whales and dolphins. It is predicted that if humans keep fishing the way that they do, our oceans could be fish-less by the year 2048. There is no such thing as sustainable fishing.


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 many dairy cows are raised in the US?

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 in the US?

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 …


How much waste does a pig produce?

Each pig produces, on average, 14 pounds of waste per day. 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.


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, …


Is animal agriculture a threat to the environment?

It is one of the biggest contributors to global climate change and deforestation around the world, presenting a great threat to the world’s biodiversity. Some of the facts are astounding. For example, animal agriculture is responsible for emitting 18% of all greenhouse gasses, and this is expected to increase 80% by the year 2050.


What is animal farming?

Animal agriculture, or factory farming as it’s commonly known, is the mass industrialization of the breeding, raising, and slaughter of animals for human consumption. 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 …


Why do factory farmers care about animals?

That is why the animals are treated as products and not sentient beings. The farmers can argue that they do things to protect their animals but what they are actually doing is protecting their margins.


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 are the foods that animals are fed on factory farms?

On factory farms, animals are fed diets consisting of soy, corn, and grains. Growing soy, corn, and grains for billions of animals demand a lot of land and water. One study found that 36% of the calories being produced by the world’s crops are used to feed animals on factory farms.


What is the main cause of deforestation?

Livestock, both feeding and raising the animals, is one of the leading causes of deforestation around the world and responsible for the destruction of 75% of the Amazon in Brazil. All of this land could be used to produce more than enough soy, corn, grains, legumes, and vegetables for the entire population.


What will happen if agriculture continues to grow?

If industrial agriculture continues to grow unchecked, global warming will increase – with potentially disastrous impacts, the beginnings of which are being felt today. Methane, produced by livestock including sheep, goats, and cows, is a greenhouse gas with a terrific ability to trap heat in the atmosphere.


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 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.


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 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.


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 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.


Water Pollution and Agriculture

Livestock require massive quantities of food during their lifetimes. Of the 330 million acres of agricultural land in the U.S., 260 million acres are used to produce feed for livestock. If the farming of these crops is done incorrectly, runoff from fertilized and pesticide-laden lands carry pollutants to streams, lakes, and even groundwater.


The Added Animal-Related Pollution

Well, what goes in must come out, and what comes out of all these animals is to the tune of 500 million tons of manure a year. That is the equivalent of 12.5 million semi-trucks! Animals confined to small spaces on farms or animal feeding operations ( AFOs) create very concentrated areas of urine and poop.


Is Water Treatment Enough?

The best chance of combating runoff contamination is the use of combined sewer systems where this animal agriculture is most prevalent. Combined sewer collection systems transport both land runoff and water from your toilet to the wastewater treatment plant to be handled.


What YOU Can Do

Until the demand for animal products decreases, this water pollution is a reality. We can combat this situation by shifting to a more plant-based diet and encouraging farms to limit and control their fertilizer application by only buying organic produce. Share this info with your friends and be a Green Monster today!

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The Making of A Dead Zone

  • First, let’s delve into the science behind dead zones to understand how and why they actually occur. Eutrophication happens when excess nutrients enter a waterway—be it stream, river, or ocean. Too much of a good thing results in a lot of very bad things. Extra nitrogen and phosphorous encourage algae growth which results in algal blooms. As the al…

See more on onegreenplanet.org


Where in The World?

  • Dead zones can be observed anywhere that excess nutrients accumulate and algae can bloom. However, there are a few notable areas where devastation is well known and widespread. The Gulf of Mexico dead zone is, perhaps, the best known dead zone in the United States. In 2014, it spanned 5,052 square miles. This dead zone is found off the coast of Texas and Louisiana and i…

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The Animal Agriculture Tie-In

  • So, what does animal agriculture have to do with eutrophication? A lot, actually. While dead zones can and do occur naturally, man has, unfortunately, tipped the scales quite a bit when it comes to this phenomenon First, consider all the extra poop produced by livestock. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that roughly 335 million tons of manure (measured in dry weight) i…

See more on onegreenplanet.org


Put Life Back in Dead Zones

  • You may not be able to single-handedly stop man-made dead zones from occurring. But there is a lot you can do to help the situation in our local waterways.

See more on onegreenplanet.org

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