On the Environmental Disaster of Animal Agriculture

During the past month, there have been a series of excellent and informative articles on the environmental disaster of animal agriculture written by Angel Flinn on Care2. I strongly urge everyone to read these articles and use them as educational tools in the fight to abolish the most deplorable industry in the world.The most recent of Angel’s articles on Care2 is about the recent Swine Flu outbreak entitled: The Flu Lagoon: A Disaster Waiting to Happen. There is a comment section if you would like to express your thoughts.

Prior to the article noted above, Angel recently wrote the following informative articles:

On the ecological benefits of veganism:

The Vegan Solution: An Ideal Whose Time Has Come

On the ecological and moral problems of free range animal agriculture:

Free Range Is Not the Answer

On how animal agriculture, specifically the chicken and egg industry, is the soy monoculture industry’s biggest customer. Indeed, the soy industry has come out against the vegan movement because their largest customer, by far, is animal agriculture.

As We Soy, So Shall We Reap

These articles are very informative and well-written. I cannot recommend them enough for both reading and sharing with others.

Food Miles Versus Food Choices

One notion brought up in the comment section of the Free Range article (linked above) was the impact of food miles. While it is usually beneficial and important to buy locally and reduce “food miles”, the benefit of buying local is often grossly exaggerated when compared to the benefits of vegan food choices. Here is a peer-reviewed study on Food Miles versus Food Choices by two engineers, Christopher L. Weber and H. Scott Matthews, at Carnegie Mellon University. The study was funded by an EPA Science to Achieve Results Fellowship and a National Science Foundation MUSES grant (see bottom of link).

I’ll leave it to the reader to pour over the link’s technical details to their heart’s desire and cut to the chase: a direct quote at the end of the first paragraph of the Relevance of Results section as follows:

“Shifting less than 1 day per week’s (i.e. 1/7 of total calories) consumption of red meat and/or dairy to other protein sources or a vegetable-based diet could have the same climate impact as buying all household food from local providers.”

So, we see that the impact of going from a diet of red meat and dairy to a vegan diet seven days a week is seven times BETTER than buying all food from local providers.

Transportation accounts for only 11% of total life-cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, while food production (in which red meat and dairy are extremely intensive compared to plant-based food) accounts for 83% of total life-cycle GHG emissions.

The study mentions chicken and fish as alternatives to plant protein, but the chicken industry is the soy-monoculture industry’s biggest customers and chickens are reverse protein factories by a 2:1 ratio. Also, commercial ‘fishing’, which is basically strip-mining the ocean, is ruining our oceans.

Don’t want to ruin the oceans? Go vegan.

Don’t like the environmental problems of the soy industry? Go vegan.

Don’t like monoculture? Go vegan.

Don’t like the environmental problems of the petroleum industry? Go vegan.

Don’t like greenhouse gas emission? Go vegan.

Don’t like animal exploitation and cruelty? Go vegan.

Want environmental sustainability? Go vegan.

Want to feed the hungry? Go vegan.

Want to save water? Go vegan.

Want to cut air and water pollution? Go vegan.

Want to slow global warming? Go vegan.

Want to reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, obesity, and cancer? Go vegan.

Animal agriculture is a deplorable hell that combines depraved savagery toward innocent beings with greed and reckless, anti-social irresponsibility toward the environment. And it’s not just Smithfield and similar corporations, it is every single individual consumer of their products who personally shares in this violence and irresponsibility.

There is absolutely no single personal change that the average person can make that has a better impact on the environment than going vegan.

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