The Environmental Impacts of Factory Farming

Odds are you’ve never questioned whether or not our current food production practices are sustainable. You probably simply assume that as advanced as we are with science and technology, either the current system is already sustainable, or if not, we’ll figure out a solution down the road. But I have news for you- option 1 is just flat wrong, and option 2 is a pretty big leap of faith. More importantly, if we know there’s a problem now, why are we waiting to fix it? A few quick facts for you….

beef factory farm

*On average, it takes about 8 pounds of grain to make just one meager pound of beef. And more than half of the corn & soy we grow in this country is fed to livestock. Why are we using 8 times as much grain to make a meager quantity of beef when around the world, and even in our own country, people who are starving could be eating that grain instead? That math doesn’t make sense- 8 pounds of food in to get 1 pound of food out. Millions of people could be fed with all of that grain if livestock weren’t consuming it.livestock grain

*It takes somewhere in the realm of 2400 gallons of water to produce a pound of beef, whereas it takes only about 25 gallons to produceĀ  a pound of wheat. That’s a whopping 100 times more water to produce a pound of beef than a pound of wheat. Why are we comfortable wasting literally tons of water on livestock in the US when we know there are places in the world where people have no clean water at all?water

*It takes about 3/4 of a gallon of oil to produce just one pound of beef, and it takes anywhere from 2 to 10 times more fossil fuel to produce a calorie of animal protein vs a calorie of plant based protein. Fossil fuel is a hot topic in politics as we all acknowledge we’re depleting our natural resources at an unsustainable rate and our gas prices are sky high, and yet I rarely hear politicians, neither republicans nor democrats, mention this statistic. Interesting, right? Think of how much oil we could save if everyone ate a more vegetarian/vegan diet.oil for beef

*Millions of acres of rain forest are destroyed around the world in order to raise livestock on unsustainable factory farms. Why are we depleting our biggest source of oxygen & consumer of CO2 in favor of factory farm livestock practices that ultimately result in the release of environmentally toxic quantities of methane, nitrogen, phosphorous, etc? Double whammy on the environment.greenhouse gas emissions

*Livestock in the US produce more excrement per year than the entire human population of the US. Where do you think all that poop is going? It’s running off of our eroded soil into our rivers and oceans, where it ultimately kills and mutates fish and millions of other organisms.

factory farm runoff

Sources:

http://alumni.stanford.edu/get/page/magazine/article/?article_id=29892

http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/meat-wastes-natural-resources.aspx

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/27/weekinreview/27bittman.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

http://www.epa.gov/owow/NPS/Ag_Runoff_Fact_Sheet.pdf

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One thought on “The Environmental Impacts of Factory Farming

  1. Pingback: Snack Time (nom nom nom) – Blessings from Our Mother

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