Environmental Effects of the Meat Industry

Our eating habits have a significant influence on our culture, entertainment, and general health. We have more choices than ever in terms of how and what we consume, yet a larger population requires more resources. Meat production is now one of the biggest environmental hazards and is responsible for 14.5% of all greenhouse gases. It also consumes around 70% of agricultural land and is a major contributor to deforestation, biodiversity loss, and water pollution. Moreover, this number is only expected to grow in the upcoming years.

Deforestation

When land is utilized to produce animals rather than crops, valuable water and soil are lost, trees are felled to create room for grazing or factory-farm sheds, and untreated animal excrement pollutes rivers and streams. Meat production needs a large amount of land. Millions of acres have been plowed down to make way for enormous monoculture agricultural fields devoted to cattle feeding. In South America, deforestation for agriculture is a problem, but in the Midwest, native prairies and grasslands are being lost to farmland. Additionally, the meat industry is accountable for 75% of the deforestation in the Brazillian Amazon rainforest.

from FutureLearn

Greenhouse Gases

The livestock industry, which includes growing cows, pigs, and chickens, emits the same amount of greenhouse gases as all cars, trucks, and autos combined. As a consequence of their ruminant digestive process, sheep and cows produce enormous amounts of methane, relying on specific bacteria that can break down grass. Furthermore, methane is 25 times more effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.

Solutions to Help Reverse the Environmental Effects

The ideal solution to this problem would be that everyone on Earth becomes vegetarian or vegan, which is absurd. The best solution would be to limit meat consumption and change diets accordingly. Eating more plant-based foods would be healthier and better for the environment. Increased meat consumption also leads to an increased risk of diabetes, certain types of cancer, and heart disease.

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Aishi Kapoor

Aishi Kapoor

A senior in high school committed to making a difference and spreading awareness about social issues in her community.