Animal Farming is Destroying Our Planet
Raising animals for food accelerates global warming, depletes our water resources, poisons our waterways, and destroys forests and other wildlife habitats.
Global warming is accelerated by the release of greenhouse gases, so called because they trap the sun’s heat near the earth’s surface. These include carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. Carbon dioxide is released by burning forests to create animal pastures. The more damaging, methane and nitrous oxide, are released from digestive tracts of cows and from animal waste pits.
Wind erosion from animal croplands generates airborne particles, which irritate respiratory passages and make them more susceptible to respiratory infections. Residents downwind from animal croplands are exposed to fertilizers and pesticides sprayed on crops. Ammonia and hydrogen sulfide from animal waste pits produce an unbearable stench.
Animal waste containing vast amounts of nitrates, pathogens, antibiotics, and hormones is stored in huge pits, euphemistically dubbed “lagoons.” During major storms, this waste winds up in the nearest waterway, while some of it leaks gradually into vital groundwater supplies underlying the pits.
Rain and snow runoff from animal feed croplands and factory farms and its waste pits contains soil particles, salts, organic debris, fertilizer, and pesticides, which kill aquatic organisms in nearby streams and lakes. Eventually these pollutants wind up in the ocean producing huge “dead zones.”
Destruction of Wildlife
Animal agriculture is the key factor in destruction of wildlife and their habitats. Ancient forests are cut down and burned to create cattle pastures. When the pastures become trampled and depleted, they are converted into animal feed croplands. Each year, U.S. Department of Agriculture officials kill thousands of bison, wolves, coyotes, foxes, prairie dogs, ferrets, blackbirds, starlings, and other wildlife that are thought to interfere with ranching operations.
Industrial fishing is wiping out the oceans’ biodiversity, as miles of long lines and trawling nets sweep up huge numbers of “non-target” aquatic organisms. Bottom trawlers scrape the ocean floor and destroy all life in their path.