Traditional farming practices have increasingly given way to factory farms which are taking a tremendous toll on the environment. There are now 20 billion livestock on earth, more than triple the number of human beings.
Misuse of Land
85% of all U.S. agricultural land is used in the production of animal food, which in turn is linked with deforestation, destruction of wildlife species, loss of soil productivity through mineral depletion and erosion, water pollution and depletion, overgrazing and desertification.
It takes roughly 16 pounds of grain to produce 1 pound of beef. 80% of U.S. grain and over 70% of soy is fed to livestock. If people switched to a plant-based or vegetarian/vegan diet, enough land would be freed up to feed 1,400,000,000 of the world’s hungry people.
Loss of rainforests in Southern Mexico and Central America have been caused chiefly by the importation of rainforest beef into the United States. Members of 20 to 30 different plant species, 100 different plant species, 100 different insect species, and dozens of bird, mammal, and reptile species have been destroyed in the production of each fast food hamburger made from rainforest beef.
More than half of the topsoil in the Western United States has been lost since cattle began overtaking the Western plains 140 years ago. Topsoil is the most precious commodity a farmer has. It takes nature anywhere between one hundred and eight hundred years to produce an inch of topsoil.
2,500 gallons of water are required to produce 1 pound of beef. 5,214 gallons are required to produce a pound of beef in California. This is because of the huge amounts of grains grown to feed cattle and the water used to grow those grains. The Ogallala aquifer is the largest body of fresh water on earth and it is being depleted by farmers at an alarming rate. More water is withdrawn from the Ogallala aquifer every year for beef production than is used to grow all the fruits and vegetables in the entire country. Wells throughout the nation are drying up. The same pattern is happening all over the world.
Water and Air Pollution
The waste from today’s feedlot operations are not being returned to the soil for rebuilding topsoil, but end up in our groundwater, rivers, streams, and oceans. Pfiesteria is just one of the illnesses caused by animal waste in our waterway. Massive amounts of chemical fertilizers and pesticides are used causing water and air pollution.
The planet is experiencing global warming due to “greenhouse gases” caused largely by animal agriculture. Meat production causes an increase in carbon dioxide and methane gas which is released into the atmosphere.
Livestock grazing has turned 1/3 of the earth’s land to desert. As a result, floods are becoming a more common occurrence throughout the world.
"What's healthiest for each of us personally is also healthiest for the life support system of our precious, but wounded planet."
"The real cure for our environmental problems is to understand that our job is to salvage Mother Nature...We are facing a formidable enemy in this field. It is the hunters...and to convince them to leave their guns on the wall is going to be very difficult."
"I look forward to an America which will not be afraid of grace and beauty, which will protect the beauty of our natural environment..."
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