All of God's creatures have rights, a fact that most people don't seem to recognize. This includes both human and non-human animals, but not all of them can speak for themselves. As we continue to disregard the value of the lives of the billions of animals we eat, we also are destroying our air, land and water.
In its extensive coverage of the California drought, the New York Times has consistently focused on the cultivation of crops without so much as mentioning animal agriculture, which is far more water intensive.
Cattle during California drought (photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images)
The glaring omission has sent readers the message that fruits, vegetables and nuts – not beef and dairy – are responsible for the state’s grave water shortage. Following are excerpts from the NY Times over the past three days.
April 6th: “Even as the worst drought in decades ravages California, . . . millions of pounds of thirsty crops like oranges, tomatoes and almonds continue to stream out of the state and onto the nation’s grocery shelves.”
ApApril 5th: “The expansion of almonds, walnuts and other water-guzzling tree and vine crops has come under sharp criticism from some urban Californians.”
April 4th: ”There is likely to be increased pressure on the farms to move away from certain water-intensive crops — like almonds.”
Cultivating crops might be be water intensive, but it uses a fraction of the water consumed in animal agriculture. On California’s factory farms, which house tens of millions of chickens, pigs and cows, water is used not only to hydrate these animals but also to grow their feed and clean the facilities and slaughterhouses where they are raised and killed.
Cows in a California feedlot
Eliminating animal agriculture, which inefficiently uses of a scarce resource and is altogether unnecessary, would undoubtedly help to curb California’s water shortage.
2014 Climate March participants highlighted impact of animal agriculture on water supply
Following are just a few statistics that demonstrate the impact of animal agriculture on the water supply:
One year ago (March, 2014), the NY Times published an op-ed, "Meat Makes the Planet Thirsty," that included statistics comparing the amount of water used for crops and animals. So why is it omitting this vital information in its current coverage of the drought? Could it be a mere oversight? Or is it something more sinister?
Number of animals killed in the world by the fishing, meat, dairy and egg industries, since you opened this webpage.
0 marine animals
0 cows / calves
0 pigeons/other birds
0 donkeys and mules
0 camels / camelids