As I continue with my research on the meat industry and it’s effects on the environment, I went to EBSCO to find some more information.
What I found is that grazing and cropland all of which is dedicated to producing food for livestock to eat takes up 3.4 billion hectares (or 8,401,582,969.884 acres) which is 26% of the ice-free global land surface, making it the single most extensive form of land use on the planet. This is excluding all of the land where the livestock are actually placed. One of the biggest problems of the amount of land that it takes is that in order to attain this much land millions of trees and plants are being cut down, reducing the oxygen in the air and atmosphere.
Beyond this, considering emissions along the entire commodity chain, livestock currently contribute about 18% to the global warming effect, it made up of about 9% of total carbon-dioxide emissions, but 37% of methane, and 65% of nitrous oxide. Although the meat industry does not contribute a majority of greenhouse gas emissions and completely eliminating the industry will quite obviously not solve everything, 18% is still an incredibly large percentage.
While I still have more to research, so far I have been very interested in the numbers and arguments that I’ve found and look forward to finding out more about the meat industry.
Costa, Nick D. “Reducing the Meat and Livestock Industry’s Environmental Footprint.” Nutrition & Dietetics, vol. 64, Sep2007 Supplement 4, pp. S185-S191. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1111/j.1747-0080.2007.00210.x.
Gupta, Sujata. “A Burger Every Few Days to Keep Climate Change at Bay.” New Scientist, vol. 212, no. 2839, 19 Nov. 2011, p. 12. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=aph&AN=67344288&site=ehost-live.
Photo by Jonathan Kos-Read