How is animal agriculture destroying our enviroment


Although often overlooked in conversations about climate change, animal agriculture is a major driver of global warming and biodiversity loss. As we will see below, the industry destroys ecosystems, releases huge quantities of greenhouse gases, wastes vast amounts of water, and is a major source of pollutants.Dec 7, 2021


Is animal agriculture destroying our planet?

But there is one reason compelling more and more people to live an animal-product-free life: animal agriculture is destroying our planet. It is the leading cause of climate change and rainforest deforestation, and it is responsible for the majority of species extinction, as well as nearly half of the United States’ water consumption.

How does animal agriculture affect the environment?

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, and water and involves the unsustainable use of fossil fuels.

Why is animal waste bad for the environment?

The animal waste that runs off these livestock lots pollutes local waterways with pesticides, herbicides, hormones, antibiotics, phosphate-rich fertilizer, and bacteria. This waste is reducing clean water availability around the world and reduces the availability of the uncontaminated fish supply.

What is animal agriculture and how does it work?

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.


How does animal agriculture harm 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 animal agriculture is destroying our planet?

Seventy billion farmed animals are reared annually worldwide. More than 6 million animals are killed for food every hour. And the average American consumes 209 pounds of meat per year. Meat and dairy has been largely ingrained into our diets, but they’re also largely ingrained in our environment.

How do animals impact 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 does animal agriculture lead to global warming?

Raising livestock generates 14.5 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions that are very bad for the environment. Forests help lower the risks of sudden climate change and also tone down the impacts from natural disasters. Water is another natural resource that is being depleted rapidly.

Is agriculture destroying the planet?

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.

Is the livestock industry destroying the planet?

Livestock species contribute directly and indirectly to deforestation, water pollution, air pollution, greenhouse gases, global warming, desertification, erosion and human obesity, and virtually anywhere you go in the world, the damage done by ruminants, pigs and poultry, and those who grow feed crops for them, is …

How is farming affecting the planet?

Factory farming intensifies climate change, releasing vast volumes of greenhouse gases. Factory farming is fuelling climate change, releasing vast quantities of carbon dioxide and methane. We now know that man-made climate change is real and that it poses a great threat to the planet and its inhabitants.

How much does animal agriculture contribute to greenhouse gases?

The FAO says animal agriculture is only responsible for 14.5 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, in a report published in 2018.

1. Climate Crisis

Raising animals to be killed for food is inefficient, cruel, and largely responsible for the climate crisis we face today. The more meat and dairy people consume the more negative impact on the climate.

2. Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Greenhouse gasses are gasses that trap heat in the atmosphere and include carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxides. This in turn produces an unnatural warming effect on our planet. Animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than the combined exhaust from all transportation.

3. Deforestation

Deforestation, the clearing or removal of a forest for the land to be converted into non-forest use, is directly caused by animal farming. When the global demand for meat rises, more cows, pigs, chickens and other animals are killed for their meat.

4. Massive Amounts Of Grain & Water

Raising animals and killing them for food is hugely inefficient. Animals are fed so much grain to fatten them up for consumption that they require more calories to sustain them than the (unhealthy) calories they provide when eaten.

5. Coral Reef Degeneration

When we think of animal farming the animals that may come to mind first are cows, pigs and chickens, but fish are also farmed for food and doing this directly affects our coral reefs. Like other animals and plants, coral can get sick and die because they are living organisms.

Five things you can do to help

The most impactful action you can take to save animals and the planet is to adopt a vegan diet. If you aren’t already vegan, don’t worry, it’s not too late. A great way to get started with plant-based eating is through free programs such as Challenge 22 or Veganuary .

Get Social with Animal Save Movement

We love getting social, which is why you’ll find us on all the major social media platforms. We think it’s a great way to build an online community where we can share news, ideas and actions. We’d love for you to join us. See you there!

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, …

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.

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.

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, …

Does change end with consumers?

Change does not end with consumers, however. Policy amendments, and in some cases drastic overhauls, are also necessary. A reduction in government subsidies for concentrate feed combined with federal regulation to control hormone and antibiotic administration in factory farm animals would help mitigate greenhouse gas emissions as well. These changes could motivate production companies to graze livestock on grassland, reduce concentrate feed, and focus on disease prevention.

How does animal agriculture affect the environment?

These species are herbivores and consume high amounts of grain. Rice, wheat, and other grains are water-intensive crops. It takes 4,000 liters of water to produce a kilo of rice, contributing to the environmental impact of animal agriculture.

What is the number one driver of deforestation?

As our demand for chicken sandwiches and hamburgers increases, farmland must expand. The overproduction of cattle in the Amazon is the number one driver of deforestation. Animal farming accounts for 80% of all current deforestation.

What percentage of land is used for agriculture?

In the UK, it is estimated that 85 per cent [6] of the land that is used for agriculture is just for animals, which is almost 50 per cent of the entire landmass of the UK . [7] And in the US, 41 per cent of the entire landmass is for animal farming compared to four per cent [8] which is used to grow plants directly for humans, with half of all agricultural land in the US being used specifically for beef production even though it makes up only three per cent of dietary calories . [9]

How much of the world’s ice free land is used for animal agriculture?

Globally, 26 per cent of all the world’s ice-free land [3] surface is given to grazing animals and in total animal agriculture uses 83 per cent of all agricultural land [4], yet it provides less than 20 per cent of the calories consumed and less than 40 per cent of the protein [5] that is consumed.

How much carbon does grazing put into the soil?

Grazed and Confused, a report by researchers based at the University of Oxford, states that although certain grazing managements can put carbon into the soil, at best this would only amount to 20-60 per cent of the emissions that the animals produce in the first place.

How much CO2 does food transport save?

In the US, the climate impacts of food choice were analysed [23] and food transport was shown to only account for five per cent of emissions in the average US household, which equals around 0.4 tons of CO2 equivalent. However, the study showed that substituting calories from red meat and dairy to plant-based alternatives for just one day a week would save 0.46 tons of CO2 equivalent, meaning that eating plant-based over red meat and dairy just one day a week would achieve the same result as having a diet with zero food miles.

What is the impact of cow ranching on the Amazon rainforest?

And when it comes to the Amazon specifically, cow ranching is reportedly responsible for 80 per cent of rainforest loss in the Brazilian Amazon [13], with a recent investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism showing that in 2019, fires in the Amazon were three times more common [14] in areas where there is cattle ranching. When it comes to soy, it is estimated that around 90 per cent of all of the soy that is produced in Brazil is used as animal feed, and globally 75 per cent of all the soy [15] that is produced is used for animal feed, with only 6 per cent of whole soybeans that are produced being used to produce plant-based products like tofu, soy milk and plant-based alternatives.

What would happen if the use of fossil fuels was stopped?

As for emissions, a University of Oxford report stated that even if the use of fossil fuel was ended immediately, the emissions produced by the agricultural sector [16] alone would make it impossible to limit warming to 1.5 degrees celsius and would even make it difficult to not hit two degrees. This means changes to our food system are essential if we want to avoid making the coral reefs disappear, creating more extreme heatwaves, water scarcities, droughts and food shortages for hundreds of millions more people, forcing them to be climate refugees. It is also vital if we want to avoid the continuing demise of the world’s biodiversity, increasing rates of dead zones and species extinction and the rising of sea levels causing the flooding of major cities such as Mumbai, Shanghai, Miami and New York and the potential for islands in the South Pacific ocean to disappear completely.

What is the main cause of rainforest deforestation?

Animal farming is the leading cause of rainforest deforestation [10], the single largest driver of habitat loss [11] in general and agriculture, which also includes the farming of fish, is listed as being a threat to 24,000 of the 28,000 species [12] that are currently facing extinction. And when it comes to the Amazon specifically, …

How animal agriculture impacts our water

The world is moving towards increasing problems of freshwater shortage, scarcity and depletion. By 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the world’s population could be living under water-stressed conditions.

How animal agriculture impacts land destruction and species loss

Livestock is the world’s largest user of land resources, with grazing land and cropland dedicated to the production of feed representing almost 80 percent of all agricultural land.

How animal agriculture causes pollution

The waste produced by the 70 billion animals farmed each year is typically stored in large lagoons where it emits toxic gases. It often leaks out or overflows, causing devastation to both land and waterways.

So, what can you do to combat the adverse effects of animal agriculture?

One of the major actions you can take to save the planet, for yourself and for future generations, is to make your diet greener by ditching animal products in favour of plant-based eating.

Why is Animal Agriculture Bad for Human Health?

Factory farming isn’t just bad for animals and the environment . It’s bad for humans as well.

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.

Is Animal Agriculture the Leading Cause of Deforestation?

The land use alone for factory farming and the deforestation that goes along with it paints a grim picture.

What Percent of Animals Come from Factory Farms?

In the US alone, over 95% of all animals raised to feed humans come from factory farms.

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.

How can we reduce the environmental impact of livestock feed?

We all have the opportunity to reduce the environmental impacts of livestock feed by reducing or eliminating our demand for animal product consumption.

What happens when you use fertilizer on corn?

Chemical fertilizers used for corn production run into lakes, rivers, and streams, and coastal oceans, causing algae to grow and spread, depleting the water’s oxygen. As a result, dead zones, or areas with less oxygen dissolved in the water, kill many organisms.

Why did soy grow in the 1960s?

Due to the rise of demand for meat, dairy, and eggs in the 1960s, soy production increasedto meet the needs for cheap, high-protein livestock feed. Similar to corn, methods of mass soy production led to monocultures and thus, heavy reliance on chemical fertilizers and pesticides.

Why is it important to eat plant based foods?

By choosing to eat more plant-based foods, you can drastically cut your carbon footprint, save precious water supplies, and help ensure that vital crop resources are fed to people, rather than livestock. With the wealth of available plant-based options available, it has never been easier to eat with the planet in mind.

How many herbicides were used in 2000?

In the year 2000, 75.2 million poundsof herbicide were used for United States soybean production, according to the USDA. Unfortunately, with further demand for livestock feed, the amount of chemical insecticides used will continue to increase.

Is grass fed meat sustainable?

Grass fed and pastured meat from small local farms – that is the answer! Money stays in the community, animals are properly cared for (and contain a much higher nutrient content), the ecosystems of small farms are sustainable! No soil erosion, etc. There are countless reasons to support your local farm.

Does genetically modified corn kill insects?

Genetically modified corn, also known as Bt corn, contains toxins intended to kill pest insects. When pollen or other parts of the plant are washed into various bodies of water, the insect populations within these ecosystems are affected.


Feed Production

Methane Emissions

  • The production of cattle releases a toxic greenhouse gas, which is one of the driving elements of climate change. Methane is emitted into the atmosphere when cows produce gas. In the atmosphere, it contributes to the enhanced greenhouse effect. The greenhouse effect signifies the process of Earth accepting solar radiation. As the sun’s energy reaches the planet, some of i…

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Grazing Land

  • As our demand for chicken sandwiches and hamburgers increases, farmland must expand. The overproduction of cattle in the Amazon is the number one driver of deforestation. Animalfarming accounts for 80%of all current deforestation. Clear-cutting negatively impacts the environment by restricting surface filtering of carbon dioxide. Without adequate air quality maintained by trees, 3…

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  • Factory farms contain many more animals than traditional farms in small, confined spaces. An increase in animals raises urine and feces production, which farmers disperse throughout the land to limit the soil’s immediate impacts. Farms collect the secretion, mix it with water, and spray it across their property. As these businesses spray the matter…

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How to Limit Your Impact

  • There are various methods for reducing your diet’s environmental impact. To limit the greenhouse gas emissions associated with factory-farmed meat transportation, you can consume locally grown animal products. Buying directly from a local farm or butcher significantly reduces the carbon footprint of meat. Reducing your overall consumption of animal products may shrink you…

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