How Meat-Eaters Harm The Environment

Humans are known omnivorous eaters. It means we eat both plant and meat-based food. While it is essential for human survival, animal farming is proving to be more detrimental to the environment than we’d like to acknowledge. It is even more harmful than traditional crop farming for a variety of reasons. The soil is lost, trees are cut down and water is consumed in raising these animals especially when it involves factory-farming where hundreds, if not thousands, of these animals, are raised for human consumption at a time.

Animal waste that gets washed down to rivers and streams pollute these water sources aside from increasing the carbon footprint due to untreated animal waste and is next to air pollution from vehicle combustion as the biggest threat to the environment. Marine life disappears (they either die or leave the place) as the nutrients coming from animal waste fosters the growth of algae that in turn reduces the amount of oxygen available in the water not to mention the accompanying stinky smell from excessive algae growth in the water. Aside from that, these harmful wastes pollute drinking water and can lead to a long list of health conditions that are completely avoidable if we just limit our consumption of animal meat. Animal agriculture contributes to 51% of the greenhouse gas emission all over the world. Moreover, these animals consume just as much food in order to grow in size and produce sufficient flesh to be later sold in most markets.

The global meat industry, already implicated in driving global warming and deforestation, has now been blamed for fueling what is expected to be the worst “dead zone” on record in the Gulf of Mexico.

Toxins from manure and fertiliser pouring into waterways are exacerbating huge, harmful algal blooms that create oxygen-deprived stretches of the gulf, the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay, according to a new report by Mighty, an environmental group chaired by former congressman Henry Waxman.

It is expected that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) will this week announce the largest ever recorded dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico. It is expected to be larger than the nearly 8,200 square-mile area that was forecast for July – an expanse of water roughly the size of New Jersey.

(Via: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/aug/01/meat-industry-dead-zone-gulf-of-mexico-environment-pollution)

The problem has grown considerably despite efforts to minimize its damage to the environment. It does not help that the demand for meat (of all types) continues to increase as the majority of the population are oblivious to the dangers posed by meat eating to the natural world. Environmental groups are raising awareness on the problems caused by meat farming in an effort to discourage the people from consuming more meat or reducing the demand for it at the very least.

With scientists tomorrow expected to confirm the largest dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico ever recorded, Environment America renewed its call for Tyson Foods, Inc. and other corporate agribusiness companies to curb the pollution flowing from their fields and factory farms.  The demand for Tyson to “clean it up” was today joined by Mighty Earth, which released a new research report on pollution from meat companies like Tyson.

“From the Chesapeake Bay to the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico, giant meat companies like Tyson are now responsible for huge volumes of pollution pouring into America’s waterways,” said John Rumpler, clean water program director for Environment America.

(Via: http://www.environmentamerica.org/news/ame/new-water-pollution-data-environment-america-calls-tyson-%E2%80%9Cclean-it-%E2%80%9D)

Agri-business is a large and profitable industry in America alone. Hence, claiming that its harmful effects are also on a massive scale is but an understatement to the real danger it poses. Major US waterways are contaminated by these harmful pollutants that likewise make it impossible for marine life to thrive. However, this problem is not easily addressed as most people eat meat in their day-to-day life. While going vegan is not the absolute solution to the problem, understanding how it impacts our lives is the first step to addressing this issue for good.

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