The World Health Organisation states that eating plant foods is healthier and more efficient than feeding animals to produce meat: animal farming (and meat eating) is one of the most significant contributors to the serious environmental problems facing our planet. It contributes to:
· global warming
· land degradation
· water shortages
· loss of bio-diversity
· habitat destruction
Here are some facts to ‘chew’ on:
- Cows are the biggest producers nitrous oxide and of methane — a greenhouse gas far more potent than carbon.
- The agricultural sector is the biggest producer of New Zealand’s greenhouse emissions.
- Dairy farming is increasing our emissions annually.
- Farmed animals contribute more to greenhouse warming than all forms of transport combined.
DEFORESTATION, LAND DEGRADATION, POLLUTION, LOSS OF BIODIVERSITY
- Globally, animal farming is the main cause of deforestation and a major contributor to land degradation.
- Pastoral animal farming impact includes erosion and sedimentation of streams and rivers.
- Intensive animal farming contaminates soil, ground water and streams, and increases the risk of soil compaction.
- Water quality in New Zealand rivers and lakes has declined in regions dominated by pastoral animal farming.
- As ecosystems are changed into farmland, only tiny pockets of our once vast flourishing ecosystem are left.
- Meat is a water waster. It takes far less water to produce plant foods than meat.
- Up to 1,000,000 litres of water can be used to produce just one kilo of meat, but only 1000–2000 litres are needed for the same amount of wheat.
- Modern fishing practices cause massive damage to both wildlife and the sea itself.
- Every year, millions of tons of ‘dead by catch’ are tossed overboard.
- Moving to fish farming is not the solution as, just as for other intensive animal farming, it pollutes the environment and destroys wildlife.
Going (or staying!) vegetarian is the only genuine way to cut down on the massive impact the meat-eating diet is having on our planet. A plant-based diet requires 10–20 times less land than a meat-based diet. And the least environmental impact is caused by eating a vegan diet high in organic produce.
It makes you think, doesn’t it?
Some interesting links with further information:
- Why It’s Green To Go Vegetarian
- NZ Dairy Cruelty- environmental impact
- Future Food
- EarthSave Report: A New Global Warming Strategy – how environmentalists are overlooking vegetarianism as the most effective tool against climate change in our lifetimes. By Noam Mohr
- Animals As The Bottom Line: Global Warming, Human Psychology, and Net Impact For Animals
- Physicians and Scientists for Global Responsibility