The Impact Of Animal Agriculture On The Environment

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Register to read the introduction… If animal agriculture had this much of an impact over one hundred and seventy years ago, imagine the magnitude of impact it is having today. To provide land for the livestock, feed crops, slaughterhouses, and grazing fields, animal agriculture uses nearly seventeen million square miles of land. That’s about thirty percent of the earth’s land mass. Twenty-six percent of all ice-free land, seventy percent of all farming land, and thirty percent of all plant land surface is dedicated to animal agriculture. Vegetarian diets only require a portion of the thirty-three percent of farming land that animal agriculture uses, since one acre of plants can feed more humans than it can animals. Deforestation is a big result of animal agriculture since animals constantly need more food and areas to roam. Twenty-five million acres of rainforest in the Amazon was destroyed between 1996 and 2006, with nearly all of it going towards animal agriculture. Every minute over two-hundred sixty million acres of land are cleared for the purposes of animal agriculture. The land used then is degraded by overgrazing of livestock, compaction, and erosion from animal agriculture. The impact of animal agriculture on the environment is listed as one of the biggest sources of degradation which then decreases the amount of potential farming land. Worldwide twenty percent of pastures and seventy-three percent of dry pastures are degraded. Animal agriculture also uses large quantities of precious natural resources in addition to its massive land use. In the United States of America, it is estimated that one-third of all fossil fuels and raw materials are used for machinery and electricity in animal agriculture. There is a huge disparity between the cost of producing one pound of meat product versus …show more content…
Climate change, or global warming, is caused by trapped heat within our atmosphere by greenhouse gases. The three biggest greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrus oxide, which are all produced by animal agriculture. Carbon dioxide is one of the more common greenhouse gases, but methane is twenty times more powerful and nitrus oxide over three-hundred times more powerful. The United Nations have reported that animal agriculture is responsible for eighteen percent of all greenhouse gas emissions worldwide. Animal agriculture is the largest emitter of nitrous oxide, generating sixty-five percent of the world’s emissions. It is also the largest methane producer in America. When compared to veganism, the vegetarian practice of consuming no animal products at all, animal agriculture produces about seven times more greenhouse gases. Veganism has also been reported to save one-hundred and fifty percent as much carbon emissions as a Toyota Prius, one of the leading environmentally-friendly cars. A big percentage of animal greenhouse gases is produced from enteric fermentation, the scientific term for belching and farting. Waste from livestock also produces problems. Thirty percent of the greenhouse gases animal agriculture emits is from enteric fermentation and waste. The waste contains pathogens like E coli. The United States Department of Agriculture reports that livestock produce three times more waste than humans. For one pound of beef it requires forty-four pounds of livestock waste. All that waste pollutes, along with confined facilities, plowing, fertilizers, growth hormones, antibiotics, and pesticides. Animal agriculture uses fifty percent of antibiotics and thirty-seven percent of pesticide and in America. The Environmental Protection Agency reports that ninety-five percent of pesticide residue found in American diets comes from animal agriculture. Through greenhouse gases and

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