Those of you who question planetary, animal and vegan activists would do well to remember that the moral dilemma pressing many of us to keep meat off our plates, includes a concern for your children’s futures. When you speak as though our care is not for human beings, you misjudge us. Most of us care about the future of all life, including that of human posterity. I can only hope that you read the information herein, to try and understand what many of us already know.
When the average, every day person thinks about issues like pollution, global warming and deforestation, their concern is based mainly on carbon dioxide emissions from our vehicles and factories. Unfortunately, this is only a small part of the problem relative to humanity’s affect on climate change.
Methane happens to be a much more lethal greenhouse gas and our penchant for the consumption of flesh, to go along with a human overpopulation in regard to the way we currently live, has led us toward a downward spiral that we may not be able to pull ourselves out from.
The rearing of livestock, especially that of bovines, has become an increasingly detrimental risk to all of humanity. Cows produce a vast amount of methane emissions and in terms of greenhouse gases, one cow produces the same amount in one day as an SUV driving over 30 miles (roughly 48.2 kilometers).
The total number of cows on this planet is close to 2 billion. The methane expelled into our atmosphere from the back end, as well as from the mouths of cows, partnered with the decomposing refuse produced by the whole of the farming industry, makes for a lethal dose of over 100 million tons of further greenhouse gas emissions.
Greenhouse gases in our atmosphere have already pushed our global average temperature up by nearly an entire degree since the 1980’s. This may not sound like a dramatic increase to you, however, considering that this slight rise in temperature has caused extensive glacial melting and the exposure of permafrost in arctic climates, we may see the beginning of global heating sooner then we predicted.
Permafrost itself, is simply ground that is frozen solid for over 10,000 years and it is rich with ancient vegetation. When the permafrost thaws, which it now is, this vegetation becomes exposed from its icy shell to the elements, including bacteria. Bacteria begins to eat away at the vegetation, expelling massive amounts of methane in its waste product. This is already beginning to happen around the world as evidence can be seen in many arctic regions.
We must also consider what will happen once vast sheets of ice no longer cover the Earth’s surface during summer months. Obviously, ice is bright white and reflects much of the Sun’s warming rays. Where there is no ice, dark waters absorb the Sun’s rays, which will increasingly raise the temperature of the Earth’s oceans. Anyone who understands in the slightest, how fragile and perfectly balanced all life in the sea is, realizes what will come from this. The Northwest Passage has already become navigable during the summer. Until 2009, the Arctic pack ice prevented regular marine shipping throughout most of the year, but global warming has changed that. Humanity itself, has altered the face of the planet on an unprecedented scale, over the last century.
All of this says very little in regard to the amount of fertile lands about the globe that are stripped barren, deforested for the sake of rearing cattle for their flesh. These lands, once grazed over by herds of cattle, become lifeless and unable to regrow vegetation at all again. The Amazon itself, is being raped and pillaged as you read this. Currently, because of human interference, less than 6% of the Earth’s surface is covered by the rain forests that supply much of our oxygen. Clearing tropical forests for agriculture is slated to produce another 17% of the entire world’s greenhouse gas emissions, which is more greenhouse gases than the entire global transport system.
Factory farming conglomerates bully their way into every spare piece of land to grow grain, which cattle consumes at a 50 to 1 ratio as opposed to a full grown human being, for the livestock we eat whilst children all over the world die of starvation at the rate of over 18,000 each day. In total, some 40,000 humans die of starvation every day as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) sponge every speck of living matter from their earth. The truth of the matter is that we could feed well over a billion more humans than already exist on the planet if we did not eat animals. No child would starve.
CAFO discharge (drainage) has caused the severe pollution of many fresh water sources, as well. Today, 1 in 6 human beings no longer have access to clean or safe drinking water. Exacerbated melting of polar caps due to the increase in global temperature will cause severe drought in the very near future, especially in such places that rely on ranges like the Himalayas for their fresh water. It is a sad state to see humans dying from diseases produced by factory farmed refuse which has contaminated their water sources, especially when one considers that a typical milking cow drinks anywhere from 25-30 gallons of water in one day.
On a side note, it is already a forgone conclusion amid the scientific community that animal agriculture will eventually generate diseases that we can not contain or control. The extensive use of antibiotics, including that in connection with dairy production, will most certainly create a “super-bug” with alarming potential to infect and wipe out an immeasurable number of human beings. They are telling us that there is no “if”, it is only a matter of “when”. Do not allow yourself to fall under the false assumption that an incurable strain of Ebola-like virus can not unleash itself unto the heart of your nation. United States Homeland Security already has plans of opening a facility with intent of testing level 4 pathogens in the center of America for the sustainability of factory farming and bio-chemical research.
Animal-based agriculture depletes/pollutes our drinking water sources, adds methane to greenhouse gases which exacerbates global warming, causes deforestation of the planet, shifts food production in favor of human starvation/death, is a severe bio-hazard risk due to the generation of high level pathogens & contributes to almost every human health problem.
On a world where, if we lived in a different way, it is not inconceivable or absurd to believe that we could support an even larger population, our current numbers are driving all life on the planet to global extinction, it is sadly our inability to evolve past a primal urge for the taste of another animal’s flesh which is killing us all.
The AELLA Team