Animal Agriculture Is the Leading Cause of Animal Extinction

As the animal agriculture industry continues to take over the Earth’s landmass, habitats rich in animal life are being destroyed. One acre of land is now being cleared every second, and it’s getting worse. Animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, habitat destruction, and ocean dead zones.

Animal agribusiness already occupies about 40% of Earth’s landmass and accounts for 75% of global deforestation. The rapid destruction is causing species to disappear, negatively impacting the biodiversity of native ecosystems and furthering our path into the sixth mass extinction of all species on Earth.

There are about 1.7 million documented species of flora and fauna on our planet. Over 86% of 10 million known species of flora and fauna have not been described or documented. The United Nations reports an estimate of up to 100 plant and animal species lost every day.

Our planet is about 4.5 billion years old. Through its ancient lifespan, Earth has experienced five mass extinctions: Ordovician (444 million years ago), Devonian (375 million years ago), Permian (251 million years ago), Triassic (200 million years ago), and Cretaceous (66 million years ago).

Out of the billion years of our planet’s life, humans have only been here for around six million years. Of those six million years, the current human species (Homo sapiens) has been here only 200,000 years – with our current civilization a mere 6,000 years old. The industrialization of this civilization is only 200 years old, and in the last 500 years 1,000 species of animals have gone extinct. Presently, the rate of extinction is as high as 140,000 species each year.

Massive destruction is occurring in countries with mega diverse habitats that are home to some of the largest number of species. In the Amazon, three quarters of the rainforest have been cleared so far for both international and domestic animal agriculture companies. In the US, where 260 million acres of forests have been cleared, one in five animal and plant species are at risk of extinction.

Animal agribusiness has also devastated our marine environments. Billions of animals are taken from the ocean every year. The rapid rate of oceanic animal harvesting today do not allow species enough time to reproduce. The inability to recover their populations puts the planet at risk of fishless oceans by 2048.

The facts and statistics are clear. The animal agriculture industry is killing our environment and putting every species on this planet at risk of extinction. The animal agriculture industry’s pollution of our air, water and land, along with deforestation and soil degradation, all contribute to habitat loss and species extinction. Like a domino effect, a multitude of aspects is leading to the destruction of Earth’s biodiversity.

Animal agriculture has become the greatest threat to the world’s plants and animals. The clearing of forests and rainforests for livestock pasture and feed crops is extinguishing Earth’s biodiversity, which allows life to continue in balance regardless of natural changes to the environment.

It all begins with the choices humans make and put on our plates, and that is also where it can end. Livestock farming exists only to satisfy human consumption. By making healthier, plant-based food choices, there is still time to reverse the destruction of our planet and its animals.

Meat-Eating and Our Planet, Part 2 of 2: Climate Change

In my last essay I wrote about how raising animals for slaughter is not only brutally cruel but also threatens our environment. Today I will tell you about the effects of factory farming and animal slaughter on climate change.

One of the main ways in which farming animals to be eaten threatens our planet and its climate is through deforestation, the destruction of the Earth’s green forests. Forests are being cleared to create more open land for animal grazing and to grow feed crops for the animals to eat. The Amazon rainforest is disappearing at an alarming rate, and more than 90 percent of what has been cleared since 1970 is being used for raising animals to be eaten. Twenty percent of the Earth’s oxygen supply is created by the Amazon rainforest; as the rainforest disappears, so too does the oxygen we need to breathe. By reducing the Earth’s green cover, animal agriculture is also responsible for about 9% of human-caused carbon dioxide emissions globally. Greenhouse gasses like carbon dioxide keep heat in the atmosphere. Global warming has led to catastrophic weather events, flooding, water shortages, and disturbed ecosystems.

Raising animals to be killed and eaten is also a significant source of other greenhouse gases. Grass-eating animals like cattle and sheep, for example, produce methane, which is a greenhouse gas about 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide. The farming of animals is responsible for about 37% of human-caused methane emissions, and about 65% of human nitrous oxide emissions, mainly from manure.

Eating vegetables produces significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions.  For example, potatoes, rice, and broccoli produce approximately 3–5 times lower emissions than its equivalent in animal flesh. The reason is simple – it’s more efficient to grow a crop and eat it than to grow a crop, feed it to an animal as it builds up muscle mass, then kill and eat the animal.

Did you know that one-third of fossil fuel use in the U.S., through transportation, heating, lighting, and machinery, is associated with factory farming and meat production? The contribution of fossil fuel use to climate change is well established; wouldn’t it be great for the planet if we could cut fossil fuel use by one-third?

Raising animals for food causes immense suffering, consumes dwindling natural resources, and is making our planet less habitable in the process. Fortunately, there is a solution. Today it’s easier than ever to switch to an Earth-friendly vegan diet. You will likely see an improvement in your health, and your conscience will be lighter knowing that you are not participating in the suffering and slaughter of innocent animals, or in the despoiling of our Earth and its resources.

Click here for how to get a free vegan starter kit from PETA.

Peace for ALL the animals with whom we share the planet!

Meat-Eating and Our Planet, Part 1 of 2: The Environment

I’ve been writing about the horrors and suffering that is inflicted upon animals raised for food. As Paul McCartney once said, “If slaughterhouses had glass walls everyone would be vegan.” Today I’d like to inform you about animal agriculture and the affects on the environment. If I can’t convince you to go vegan by describing the cruelty done to animals, maybe you’ll go vegan because of the environmental impact of meat-eating on our planet.
When land is used to raise animals instead of crops, precious water and soil are lost, trees are cut down to make land for grazing or factory-farming, and untreated animal waste pollutes rivers and streams. In fact, animal agriculture has such a devastating effect on all aspects of our environment that scientists list meat-eating as the second-biggest environmental hazard, after fossil-fuel vehicles, facing our planet.  Meat-eating and production have a serious negative impact on our climate as well. No wonder, when you consider facts like these:

It takes an enormous amount of water to grow crops just for animals to eat, hose down filthy factory farms,and give animals water to drink. A single cow used for milk can drink up to 50 gallons of water per day—or twice that amount in hot weather—and it takes 683 gallons of water to produce just one gallon of milk. And the poor dairy cows suffer in what the industry calls the “rape rack” being impregnated their entire lives, just to keep them giving milk, while their babies are taken away to be turned into veal.

Cows killed for meat must consume 16 pounds of vegetation in order to convert them into one pound of flesh. It takes more than 2,400 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef, while producing one pound of tofu only requires 244 gallons of water and only 25 gallons to produce a pound of wheat! Raising animals for food consumes more than half of all water used in the U.S. By going vegan, one person can save approximately 219,000 gallons of water a year.

Of all raw materials and fossil fuels used in the U.S., more than one-third are devoted to raising animals for food. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, raising animals for food is the number-one source of water pollution in the U.S. Runoff from factory farms and livestock grazing pollutes our rivers and lakes. Animals raised for food in the U.S. produce many times more excrement than does the entire human population of the country.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), animals on U.S. factory farms produce about 500 million tons of manure each year. A typical pig factory generates the same amount of raw waste as a city of 12,000 people. With no animal sewage processing plants, it is most often stored in waste “lagoons” that fester with bacteria and viruses and contaminate the groundwater. Studies have shown that these lagoons also emit toxic airborne chemicals that can cause inflammatory, immune, irritation and neurochemical problems in humans.

Factory farms frequently dodge water pollution limits by spraying liquid manure into the air, creating mists that are carried away by the wind. People who live nearby are forced to inhale the toxins and pathogens from the sprayed manure. If you can smell a farm, it’s because you’re inhaling the airborne waste along with horrendous animal suffering.

Today it’s easier than ever to switch to an Earth-friendly vegan diet. You will likely see an improvement in your health, and your conscience will be lighter knowing that you are not eating or drinking animals who suffer their whole lives. You will be doing your part to help save our planet and its animals.
In Part Two, I will give you more facts regarding the impact of factory farms and slaughtering animals for food on our planet’s climate.
Click here for a link to PETA’s free vegan starter kit.
Peace for ALL the animals with whom we share the planet!