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Elena Soto

CS 5
April 20th

Meat and Environmental Problems
Nowadays our planet is experimenting serious problems with the
environment. Topics like air pollution, environmental impact and climate change
are discussed everyday around the world. Pollution is causing the deterioration
of the ozone layer. In consequence natural disasters like floods and droughts hit
cities and towns every year. Lakes, rivers and the sea are being contaminated
causing healthy problems and death in people who live near of these affluent.
The current situation of the world is disturbing all forms of live. Activities like
mining, oil extraction and industrialization are some of the causes of
environmental problems. However, few people know that the production of meat
is one of the most polluting activities and has one of the greatest worldwide
environmental impacts. Meat industry is responsible for land issues, water
issues and air issues.
Meat industry is responsible for land issues. At this time, livestock
production plays a significant role in deforestation. Huge amounts of forest had
disappeared to create pasture to feed animals used for food. According to the
report, “Livestock a major threat to environment,” “Livestock now use 30 percent
of the earth’s entire land surface, mostly permanent pasture but also including
33 percent of the global arable land used to producing feed for livestock. As
forests are cleared to create new pastures, it is a major driver of deforestation,
especially in Latin America where, for example, some 70 percent of former

“Slaughtering the Amazon” “Cattle are responsible for about 80% of all deforestation’ in the Amazon region. but this change in usage can lead to high rates of erosion and loss of topsoil and nutrients. Also. deforestation is the result of meat industry which is affecting significantly the environment. According to the publication. In recent years. This makes it the world’s largest driver of deforestation. This reduces the ability for plants to grow and water to penetrate. Overgrazing also affects the regeneration capacity of the plants. Overgrazing can reduce ground cover. which harms soil microbes and results in serious erosion of the land” (World Wild Life WWF). responsible for more forest loss than the total deforestation in any country outside Brazil except Indonesia” (Greenpeace). livestock production plays a significant role in the soil degradation. Trees are cut and the land is converted into a pasture for cattle grazing. in Brazil the rainforest is being seriously affected. “Soil Erosion and Degradation” “The conversion of natural ecosystems to pasture land doesn’t damage the land initially as much as crop production.forest in the Amazon have been turned over to grazing” (FAO Food and Agriculture Organization). According to the study. In the end. on average one hectare of Amazon rainforest has been lost to cattle ranchers every 18 seconds. The article . When the livestock graze upon the plants heavily. enabling erosion and compaction of the land by wind and rain. For example. Cattle trampling impedes the infiltration of water into the soil and the cover of vegetation is removed from the land giving as a result soil erosion. the roots get destroyed. The relation between meat consumption and deforestation is strongest in Latin America. The cattle sector in the Brazilian Amazon is responsible for 14% of the world’s annual deforestation.

Your Pocketbook” explains that “Overgrazing reduces plant leaf areas. On February. “Of all agricultural land in the U.“Overgrazing Can Hurt Environment. Plants become weakened and have reduced root length.S. The reduced root length makes the plants more susceptible to death during dry weather. the entire country is becoming sterile. as a result more water is necessary.. Governor Jerry Brown ordered residents and businesses to cut . According with an article. As most part of the land is used to raise animals for food in the US. Meat industry is responsible of water issues. forest have been cleared to create cropland to produce feed for animals raised for food. “Meat Production Wastes Natural Resources” “It takes more than 2. for example.S. Nearly half of all the water used in the United States goes to raising animals for food. About 260 million acres of U.400 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of beef. 2015. In the end. California. The meat industry is increasing day by day. The weakened sod allows weed seeds to germinate and grow” (Rayburn).S. One of the main problems that people face is water shortages. It means that people save more water by not eating a pound of beef than not taking a shower for six months. The article “How does eating meat harm the environment?” supports this idea. is facing a water crisis. Producing meat requires huge amount of water. 87 percent is used to raise animals for food.S” (Peta). which reduces interception of sunlight and plant growth. while growing 1 pound of wheat only requires 25 gallons” (Peta). The meat industry is directly responsible for 85 percent of all soil erosion in the U. That’s 45 percent of the total land mass in the U. and the pasture sod weakens. livestock production makes that the soil becomes infertile and dry.

000 gallons of manure into a creek.” “The majority of alfalfa is not grown for human consumption but to feed livestock. Alfalfa hay is also an integral feed source for factory-farmed cows.” “Factory farms typically store animal waste in huge. In 2011. According to the article. bits of flesh or rejects to the drains. these animals produce a large amount of excrement. killing over 110. blood. alfalfa sucks up more water than any other crop in the state. Factory Farming and the Environment. if it is not managed correctly. especially those involved in dairy production” (MCwilliams). . California´s water consumption comes from the production of Alfalfa. Factory farms typically have hundreds or thousands of animals. Other factor which contributes to water pollution is the slaughterhouses waste. Grown on over a million acres in California.water use by 25 percent because there is no enough water to supply the necessity.000 fish” (Moskovitz). In consequence. Other problem that people face is water pollution. This crisis is related to meat industry. And it has one primary destination: cattle. According to the article. an Illinois hog farm spilled 200. The drains lead the wastewater to the rivers and finally the rivers run off the wastewater water into the sea. And livestock manure is the mainly cause of contamination. which are prone to leaks and spills. “Meat Makes the Planet Thirsty. These places have canals to transport the wastewater composed by skin. often as big as several football fields. These facts show that the indiscriminate use of water in the meat industry makes that in some places people have to reduce their consumption. this waste pollutes water. Increasingly popular grass-fed beef operations typically rely on alfalfa as a supplement to pasture grass. the wastewater may cause a strong reduction of the amount of dissolved oxygen. open-air lagoons.

Meat industry is responsible for air issues. In the end meat industry affects the quality of water makes it danger for consumption.” ”Methane gas. In the end. “Pollution from industrialized livestock production. According to the article.” “Emissions of methane from ruminants digesting fibrous feeds and from manure storage facilities add up to nearly 90 million tons per year.” wastewater leads the “Destruction of fragile ecosystems such as wetlands. which are the main cause of global warming. “Do Cow Farts Actually Contribute to Global Warming. At this time. Too little and the greenhouse effect becomes weak. Methane gas emitted by cows and other livestock has a significant impact on the amount of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere.which in turn may lead to reduced levels of activity or even death of aquatic life. The right amount has an average temperature of a life-supporting 59 degrees Fahrenheit. livestock leads the emissions of methane gas which damages the air 20 times more than any other gas. trapping heat. Methane is twenty one times more potent at catching heat from the Sun than carbon dioxide. livestock is the largest source of carbon dioxide CO2. accounting for about 16 percent of global annual production” (FAO). According to a new report “the livestock sector generates more greenhouse gas emissions as measured in CO2 equivalent – 18 percent – than . Too much and the surface of the planet becomes so hot” (Blitz). “Pollution from industrialized livestock production. like all other greenhouse gases acts like a blanket around our planet. According to the article. livestock is the largest source of greenhouse gases like methane. According to the bulletin. At this time. mangrove swamps and coral reefs – irreplaceable reservoirs of biodiversity that are the last refuge of many endangered species” (FAO).

In the publication. “Ammonia Emissions and Animal Agriculture. In the end. which contains surplus nitrogen. The overpopulation of cows in farms used for food is one of the main problems of the emission of CO2. In addition. livestock contributes to the emission of ammonia which results in acid rain. Meat consumption becomes an activity which affects negatively the environment. meat industry is also the main responsible for pollution and scarcity of water.transport” (FAO). According to the article. The impact of ammonia in the air is 300 times more destructive than the carbon dioxide.” explains “Livestock and poultry are often fed high-protein feed. “Livestock and Climate Change. livestock is the largest source of ammonia. . In conclusion. meat industry has much more impact in environmental problems than others. This continuing growth…could be considered as a carbon sequestration process (roughly estimated at 1 or 2 million tons carbon per year)” (Anhang). A change in people´s diet is necessary in order to stop the destruction of the planet. while more amounts of cows breathing together more amounts of CO2 goes into the air. Meat industry contributes to the destruction of forests and the deterioration of land. livestock contributes to the emission of carbon dioxide more than industries and cars. At this time. meat industry produces more greenhouse gases than any other industry. Ammonia contributes significantly to acid rain. In the end.” “The standing stock livestock biomass increased significantly over the last decades…. Finally. Nitrogen that is not metabolized into animal protein is excreted in the urine and feces of livestock and poultry where further microbial action releases ammonia into the air during manure decomposition” (Gay).

Works Cited .