Around the world, the destructive effects of climate change are being felt more rapidly and with increasing intensity. It is highly important to embrace fast-acting solutions before it causes any more devastation. Climate change is being driven by extremely potent, “shorted-lived climate forcers.” These “climate forcers” are a group of substances such as black carbon, methane and tropospheric ozone and hydrofluorocarbons, which can pollute the air and have negative impacts on human health and agricultural crops. By eliminating “climate forcers,” cooling in the ozone will rapidly begin. Globally, the production of meat and dairy are significant contributors of these fast warming agents with far reaching consequences on planetary warming and environmental devastation.
• The human impact on the environment from the practice of industrial animal farming contributes to climate change and the pollution of land, rivers, lakes and oceans.
• Industrial animal farming places demands on precious global resources of water, grains and soya, causing increased food shortages for the hungry.
• Lesser consumption of animal products is necessary to save the world from the worst impacts of climate change. A global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world from hunger, and the worst impacts of climate change. As the global population increases, North American tastes for diets rich in meat and dairy products are unsustainable.
Each year, billions of animals on this planet are used for meat, milk and eggs, the majority on industrial farms, also known as factory farms. Because of the growing demand for these products, particularly from developing countries such as China and India, the number of animals raised on factory farms will greatly increase. A report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the “impacts from agriculture are expected to increase substantially due to population growth increasing consumption of animal products. Unlike fossil fuels, it is difficult to look for alternatives: people have to eat. A substantial reduction of impacts would only be possible with a substantial worldwide diet change, away from animal products.” Professor Edgar Hertwich, the lead author of the report, says that “Animal products cause more damage than construction minerals such as sand or cement, plastics or metal. Biomass and crops for animals are as damaging as fossil fuels.”
The world’s water resources are becoming increasingly threatened, which is causing a global crisis for every living species on this planet. Industrial agriculture is among the leading causes of water pollution in North America, and in some other parts of the world. Most water pollution from industrial farms is a result from the runoff of animal waste into nearby rivers, lakes and oceans. Animal waste that leaks into the water supply, not only causes substantial environmental problems, but can also make water unsafe for human, and animal consumption. Animals raised on industrialized farms are fed and injected with antibiotics and hormones, which makes up part of the composition in their manure. Livestock manure is high in concentrated ammonia, that is converted to dangerous nitrates when immersed in water. Also, an overabundance of heavy metals, such as copper, zinc, chromium, lead, arsenic and cadmium are part of the diets of factory farmed animals. All these chemicals end up in our rivers, lakes and streams on a daily basis. If this continues at such a rapid rate, it will not be long before our water supply is exhausted, as it will be poisoned, and therefore, unsafe for human and animal consumption.
There are alternative ways to feed the world that will prevent billions of animals from living their lives in confinement, and being tortured and killed for their flesh and milk. We can use humane and sustainable agriculture that will prevent further deforestation, massive land use change, and without a need for industrialized farms. This option is greatly increased if high meat-eating populations change to a vegetarian diet, or even better become vegan. Meat and dairy products play havoc on human health, the environment, and needless to say, the billions of animals that are brutalized, tortured, and killed everyday on industrial, organic, and small family owned farms.