Global Justice Ecology Project. Leave a Comment. When we think of the big drivers of climate change, cars and air travel often come to mind. But transformations over the past century in the way food is produced and consumed have resulted in more greenhouse gas emissions than those from transportation.
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- Green Business Network Member Recommendations
- Meat & Dairy Industries Overproduce Despite Plummeting Demand
- Avoiding meat and dairy is ‘single biggest way’ to reduce your impact on Earth
- Food scraps to become dairy and meat substitutes
- Environmental impact of meat production
- Environmental Impacts of Meat and Dairy Production
- Meat and Animal Feed
- How Big Meat Took Over the Food Industry
- Beef and Dairy Industries in “Death Spiral,” Will Collapse by 2030, Report Says
Green Business Network Member RecommendationsVIDEO ON THE TOPIC: Chicken Waste Recycling Plant +918891343468
The environmental impact of meat production varies because of the wide variety of agricultural practices employed around the world.
All agricultural practices have been found to have a variety of effects on the environment. Some of the environmental effects that have been associated with meat production are pollution through fossil fuel usage, animal methane, effluent waste, and water and land consumption.
Meat is obtained through a variety of methods, including organic farming , free range farming , intensive livestock production , subsistence agriculture , hunting , and fishing. Meat is considered one of the prime factors contributing to the current sixth mass extinction. Globally it is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gases GHG and one of the leading causal factors in the loss of biodiversity , and in developed and emerging countries it is perhaps the leading source of water pollution.
Livestock have been estimated to provide power for tillage of as much as half of the world's cropland. On August 8, , the IPCC released a summary of the special report which asserted that a shift towards plant-based diets would help to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
Changes in demand for meat may change the environmental impact of meat production by influencing how much meat is produced. It has been estimated that global meat consumption may double from to , mostly as a consequence of increasing world population, but also partly because of increased per capita meat consumption with much of the per capita consumption increase occurring in the developing world. For example, global per capita consumption of pork has increased recently almost entirely due to changes in consumption within China , while global per capita consumption of ruminant meats has been declining.
In comparison with grazing , intensive livestock production requires large quantities of harvested feed, this overproduction of feed can also hold negative effects. The growing of cereals for feed in turn requires substantial areas of land.
It takes seven pounds of feed to produce a pound of beef live weight , more than three pounds for a pound of pork, and less than two pounds for a pound of chicken.
For example, production of a pound of beef cattle live weight may require between 4 and 5 pounds of feed high in protein and metabolizable energy content, or more than 20 pounds of feed of much lower quality. Where grain is fed, less feed is required for meat production. This is due not only to the higher concentration of metabolizable energy in grain than in roughages, but also to the higher ratio of net energy of gain to net energy of maintenance where metabolizable energy intake is higher.
Free-range animal production requires land for grazing, which in some places has led to land use change. According to FAO, "Ranching-induced deforestation is one of the main causes of loss of some unique plant and animal species in the tropical rainforests of Central and South America as well as carbon release in the atmosphere.
Land quality decline is sometimes associated with overgrazing , as these animals are removing much needed nutrients from the soil without the land having time to recover. Rangeland health classification reflects soil and site stability, hydrologic function, and biotic integrity.
This led the BLM to infer that a similar percentage would be obtained when such evaluations were completed. Sheet and rill erosion is within estimated soil loss tolerance on Environmental effects of grazing can be positive or negative, depending on the quality of management,  and grazing can have different effects on different soils  and different plant communities.
In some cases, ecosystem productivity may be increased due to grazing effects on nutrient cycling. Virtual water use for livestock production includes water used in producing feed. Irrigation accounts for about 37 percent of US withdrawn freshwater use, and groundwater provides about 42 percent of US irrigation water. Rainfed agriculture, which cannot deplete its water source, produces much of the livestock feed in North America.
Corn maize is of particular interest, accounting for about In the Western United States , many stream and riparian habitats have been negatively affected by livestock grazing. This has resulted in increased phosphates , nitrates , decreased dissolved oxygen, increased temperature, turbidity , and eutrophication events, and reduced species diversity. US Bureau of Land Management. At a global scale, the FAO has recently estimated that livestock including poultry accounts for about The indirect effects contributing to the percentage include emissions associated with the production of feed consumed by livestock and carbon dioxide emission from deforestation in Central and South America, attributed to livestock production.
Using a different sectoral assignment of emissions, the IPCC Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has estimated that agriculture including not only livestock, but also food crop, biofuel and other production accounted for about 10 to 12 percent of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions expressed as year carbon dioxide equivalents in  and in The authors state this is because of the need to replace animal manures by fertilizers and to replace also other animal coproducts, and because livestock now use human-inedible food and fiber processing byproducts.
In the US, methane emissions associated with ruminant livestock 6. This is because degradation of methane nearly keeps pace with emissions, resulting in a relatively little increase in atmospheric methane content average of 6 Tg per year from through , whereas atmospheric carbon dioxide content has been increasing greatly average of nearly 15, Tg per year from through Mitigation options for reducing methane emission from ruminant enteric fermentation include genetic selection,   immunization, rumen defaunation , outcompetition of methanogenic archaea with acetogens ,  introduction of methanotrophic bacteria into the rumen,   diet modification and grazing management, among others.
In New Zealand , nearly half of [anthropogenic] greenhouse gas emission is associated with agriculture, which plays a major role in the nation's economy, and a large fraction of this is assignable to the livestock industry.
According to a study in the journal Nature , a significant reduction in meat consumption will be "essential" to mitigate climate change, especially as the human population increases by a projected 2. On August 8, , the IPCC released a summary of the special report which said that a shift towards plant-based diets would help to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
Meat production is one of the leading causes of greenhouse gas emissions and other particulate matter pollution in the atmosphere. This type of production chain produces copious byproducts; endotoxin, hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, and particulate matter PM , such as dust, are all released along with the aforementioned methane and CO 2.
In addition, exposure to PM10 particulate matter 10 micrometers in diameter may produce diseases that impact the upper and proximal airways. In fact, concentrated animal feeding operations CAFOs in proximity to residential areas adversely affect these individuals' respiratory health similarly seen in the farmers.
Air pollutants from these operations have caused acute physical symptoms, such as respiratory illnesses, wheezing, increased breath rate, and irritation of the eyes and nose. Data of a USDA study indicate that about 0. In this context, energy use includes energy from fossil, nuclear, hydroelectric, biomass, geothermal, technological solar, and wind sources. It excludes solar energy captured by photosynthesis, used in hay drying, etc.
The estimated energy use in agricultural production includes embodied energy in purchased inputs. An important aspect of energy use of livestock production is the energy consumption that the animals contribute. Feed Conversion Ratio is an animal's ability to covert feed into meat.
The Feed Conversion Ratio FCR is calculated by the taking the energy, protein or mass input of the feed divided by the output of meat provided by the animal. A lower FCR corresponds with a smaller requirement of feed per meat out-put, therefore the animal contributes less GHG emissions. Chickens and pigs usually have a lower FCR compared to ruminants.
Intensification and other changes in the livestock industries influence energy use, emissions and other environmental effects of meat production. For example, in the US beef production system, practices prevailing in are estimated to have involved 8.
Water pollution due to animal waste is a common problem in both developed and developing nations. In the US, a permit for a CAFO requires implementation of a plan for management of manure nutrients, contaminants, wastewater, etc. The EPA has published 5-year and 1-year data for 32 industries on their ratios of enforcement orders to inspections, a measure of non-compliance with environmental regulations: principally, those under Clean Water Act and Clean Air Act.
For the livestock industry, inspections focused primarily on CAFOs. Of the 31 other industries, 4 including crop production had a better 5-year environmental record than the livestock industry, 2 had a similar record, and 25 had a worse record in this respect. For crop production, the ratio was 0. Of the 32 industries, oil and gas extraction and the livestock industry had the lowest percentages of facilities with violations.
With good management, manure has environmental benefits. Manure deposited on pastures by grazing animals themselves is applied efficiently for maintaining soil fertility. Animal manures are also commonly collected from barns and concentrated feeding areas for efficient re-use of many nutrients in crop production, sometimes after composting.
For many areas with high livestock density, manure application substantially replaces application of synthetic fertilizers on surrounding cropland. Manure was spread as a fertilizer on about Altogether, in , manure was applied on about Manure biogas operations can be found in Asia, Europe,   North America, and elsewhere. The US EPA estimates that as of July , manure digester systems for biogas energy were in operation on commercial-scale US livestock facilities. Additional factors, such as odor control and carbon credits, may improve benefit to cost ratios.
Biomass of mammals on Earth  . Grazing especially overgrazing may detrimentally affect certain wildlife species, e. The growing demand for meat is contributing to significant biodiversity loss as it is a significant driver of deforestation and habitat destruction; species-rich habitats, such as significant portions of the Amazon region, are being converted to agriculture for meat production.
In North America, various studies have found that grazing sometimes improves habitat for elk,  blacktailed prairie dogs,  sage grouse,  and mule deer. One environmental benefit of meat production is the conversion of materials that might otherwise be wasted or turned into compost to produce food.
For the marketing year , dried distillers grains used as livestock feed and residual in the US was estimated at Small ruminants [ example needed ] can control of specific invasive or noxious weeds such as spotted knapweed , tansy ragwort , leafy spurge , yellow starthistle , tall larkspur , etc. These represent alternatives to herbicide use. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
See also: Water conservation. Main article: Antibiotic use in livestock. This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. December Environment portal Agriculture portal. Agroecology Animal-free agriculture Carbon dioxide equivalent tax Cheap meat Cultured meat Economic vegetarianism Semi-vegetarianism Environmental impact of agriculture Environmental impact of fishing Environmental impact of pig farming Environmental vegetarianism Ethical eating Ethics of eating meat Farmageddon book Meat Atlas Food vs.
Science of the Total Environment. Bibcode : ScTEn. The Anthropocene Review. The Guardian. Retrieved 3 November Retrieved 3 July Pushing all this forward, though, are increased demands for food from a growing global population and specifically our growing appetite for meat and fish. Agriculture and fishing are the primary causes of the deterioration.
Food production has increased dramatically since the s, which has helped feed a growing global population and generated jobs and economic growth.
Francis Vergunst does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment. When we hear about the horrors of industrial livestock farming — the pollution, the waste, the miserable lives of billions of animals — it is hard not to feel a twinge of guilt and conclude that we should eat less meat. Over the next year, more than 50 billion land animals will be raised and slaughtered for food around the world. Most of them will be reared in conditions that cause them to suffer unnecessarily while also harming people and the environment in significant ways. This raises serious ethical problems. Livestock farming has a vast environmental footprint.
Meat & Dairy Industries Overproduce Despite Plummeting Demand
This contribution would have been much greater had the animal by-products been also efficiently utilized. Efficient utilization of by-products has direct impact on the economy and environmental pollution of the country. Non-utilization or under utilization of by-products not only lead to loss of potential revenues but also lead to the added and increasing cost of disposal of these products. Non-utilization of animal by-products in a proper way may create major aesthetic and catastrophic health problems.
Avoiding meat and dairy is ‘single biggest way’ to reduce your impact on Earth
Horizon articles can be republished for free under the Creative Commons Attribution 4. You must give appropriate credit. We ask you to do this by: 1 Using the original journalist's byline 2 Linking back to our original story 3 Using the following text in the footer: This article was originally published in Horizon, the EU Research and Innovation magazine. See our full republication guidelines here. Finicky eating habits and wasteful processes have led to a system that discards millions of tonnes of food each year, but new approaches are salvaging the scraps we never see to make products that people will want to eat. A mix of misaligned policies and incentives have created a situation in which the world produces far more food than it needs, Timmermans says. In the EU alone, around 88 million tonnes of food are thrown away each year.
Kat has been writing about veganism, environment, and sustainability for five years. Their interests include over-analyzing the various socioeconomic forms of oppression, how that overlaps with veganism, and how the media in all of its forms reflects the current culture. The story of wholesome farmers who let their animals roam free no longer represents the industry. Meat is corporate now. And it transformed the food industry in less than a century. These companies bought out smaller businesses and built a conglomerate of brands to handle all aspects of meat production, from processing and packaging to managing the global meat supply chain. Humans have been eating meat for 2. Trains made it possible to ship refrigerated meat across the country with less risk of spoilage. Meat-packing facilities streamlined their processes, assigning one task per worker. Industrialization allowed the meat industry to scale up fast and a global market emerged.
Food scraps to become dairy and meat substitutes
That includes raising and harvesting all the plants, animals and animal products we eat — beef, chicken, fish, milk, lentils, kale, corn and more — as well as processing, packaging and shipping food to markets all over the world. Lots of ways. Here are four of the biggest: When forests are cleared to make room for farms and livestock — this happens on a daily basis in some parts of the world — large stores of carbon are released into the atmosphere, which heats up the planet.
As meat industry sales go down, the United States is experiencing a huge surplus of animal products sold as food. Currently supplies of chicken, beef, pork, turkey, and milk far outweigh demand. And yet, even with an excess of chicken in cold storage, the USDA is granting waivers for chicken slaughterhouses to increase line speeds and kill even more birds per minute. A gut-wrenching Compassion Over Killing investigation at Amick Farms in Maryland recently revealed the horrors happening behind the closed doors of one of these high-speed slaughter plants. The question is: with too much chicken in storage already, why increase kill line speeds? This is an issue of animal cruelty and worker safety—and also brings to light corporate greed and massive amounts of food waste. The poultry industry is reporting a loss of demand for chicken products, leading to huge stocks of meat in cold storage facilities. This, it would seem, is becoming a trend: leading up to Thanksgiving, sales of turkey were doing poorly. Companies are experiencing huge oversupplies and dips in profit, including some companies losing millions of dollars and others shutting down entirely. Yet, instead of reducing production as demand plummets, it would seem that the industry is putting the blame on consumers. As the USDA grants waivers for more chicken slaughter plants to operate at higher kill line speeds, it would seem that the fault is with chicken producers who are recklessly and increasingly creating supply without demand to back it up.
Environmental impact of meat production
Avoiding meat and dairy products is the single biggest way to reduce your environmental impact on the planet, according to the scientists behind the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet. Loss of wild areas to agriculture is the leading cause of the current mass extinction of wildlife. The scientists also found that even the very lowest impact meat and dairy products still cause much more environmental harm than the least sustainable vegetable and cereal growing. It assessed the full impact of these foods, from farm to fork, on land use, climate change emissions, freshwater use and water pollution eutrophication and air pollution acidification. Avoiding consumption of animal products delivers far better environmental benefits than trying to purchase sustainable meat and dairy. The analysis also revealed a huge variability between different ways of producing the same food. For example, beef cattle raised on deforested land result in 12 times more greenhouse gases and use 50 times more land than those grazing rich natural pasture. But the comparison of beef with plant protein such as peas is stark, with even the lowest impact beef responsible for six times more greenhouse gases and 36 times more land. The large variability in environmental impact from different farms does present an opportunity for reducing the harm, Poore said, without needing the global population to become vegan.
Environmental Impacts of Meat and Dairy Production
Introduction 1. General environmental impact 1. Overall waste production 1. The Key-indicator 1. Introduction The study describes and analyses the relationship between the production of waste in animal product processing industries on the one hand and the prevention and treatment of the waste on the other. The industries discussed are slaughterhouses, tanneries and the dairy industry. The report offers a summary of the knowledge on production, prevention and treatment of waste in these three animal products processing industries. Because of the limited time available for this study, the problems that occur in the mentioned industries have not been treated in full detail. Important questions related to the subject are those regarding: 1 the differences between various product processing methods; 2 the reduction of the production of waste; and 3 the methods of waste treatment. Chapter 1 provides a general introduction to the subject, the different types of waste produced, the variables by which to measure pollution and the definition of the Key Indicator quantity of industrially processed product of the environmental impact of the processing of animal products.
Meat and Animal Feed
Hunger is usually not caused by a global shortage of food production. Although a billion people are hungry, we harvest 4, calories per day per person but only 2, per person are consumed.
How Big Meat Took Over the Food Industry
All rights reserved. There's an entire industry built around dieting.
Beef and Dairy Industries in “Death Spiral,” Will Collapse by 2030, Report Says
The environmental impact of meat production varies because of the wide variety of agricultural practices employed around the world. All agricultural practices have been found to have a variety of effects on the environment.
Jump to navigation. He keeps dairy cows and pigs at a community in Dorset, England.