Cowspiracy's Impact On The Environment

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As people have been able to advance technologically, the impact on the environment has expanded enormously. Human actions have increasingly destroyed habitats, decreased biodiversity, polluted air and water with wastes and toxins, and released greenhouse gases that trap solar radiation, causing global climate change. In addition, population is expected to continue growing exponentially, worsening the impact and increasing the demand for food. While over consumption appears to be the main culprit of these environmental issues, the type of food that people consume may actually be an even bigger problem. A potential aggravator of many of these environmental issues is the reliance on animal agriculture as a source of food. Raising livestock is …show more content…
While many people are aware of the impacts of such actions as driving cars and make an effort to reduce those impacts, few people will recognize just how environmentally devastating it is to consume meat and other animal products. Animal agriculture contributes the most greenhouse gases than any other human activity and uses a disproportionately large amount of land, water, and energy resources. Much of the blame for overgrazing goes to indigenous species, yet no one will oppose the meat industry by admitting that livestock is a major source of the problem. Those species are instead targeted as well as keystone predators that are hunted because of their threat to livestock, leading to collapse of ecosystems. Overfishing also heavily disrupts aquatic ecosystems either by catching unwanted species as bycatch or killing entire ecosystems from bottom trawling nets. Fisheries are being depleted faster than they can be replenished, and Cowspiracy claims that there is no means of harvesting fish that could be sustainable. The filmmaker, Kip Andersen, investigated other forms of animal farming that are generally thought to be better than concentrated animal feeding operations. As it turns out, grass fed and organic animals are still extremely unsustainable and would require far more land use than the Earth can support to …show more content…
Though I agree that the current consumption of meat is completely unsustainable, I found some aspects of the documentary to be questionable. There seemed to be little solid evidence of the conspiracy of environmental organizations to protect the meat industry other than the producers’ speculation. The documentary made the claim that no one has a need for animal products, however, there are people in parts of the world who need to supplement their diet with hunting or fishing or nomadic people who cannot grow crops and rely on herd animals to survive. The claim that people do not need meat or dairy only applies to industrial nations where people can chose to buy plant based foods instead. So many people currently make their living off animal industries that it would be difficult to suddenly shift away from those products. The documentary was not thorough in explaining how to end animal agriculture altogether. There did not appear to be any proposals for making change, but they did at least successfully raise awareness for the harm in consuming meat. The argument against home farming was tenuous, as it predominantly appealed to emotion, showing the horror of killing an animal yourself rather than actually proving it is unsustainable. I think home farming could be a suitable alternative to large scale animal agriculture.

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