horse-mastIS THERE ANY END TO THE DAMAGE? FACTORY FARMING ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS
The American Holocaust Against The Animals - Article Series From The Caring Heart with Dr. Joyce from Spokane Washington

“And God said, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to everything that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat; and it was so.” (Genesis 1:29-30).

The above Genesis verses seem to be both interesting and puzzling. They are interesting in that God has created a vegan diet for every creature. HERBS FOR ALL! Puzzling because we know that there are definitely carnivorous animals that cannot digest plants. Hmmmm! Possibly some animals became carnivorous in conjunction with the fall of man. Anyway, according to these Biblical passages, plant-based diets are what were planned and created by God for this planet. Boy, have we humans deviated on that one!! Animal-based diets have been around since pre-history, and have gone rampant now, with modern machinery to open up vast areas for growing crops to feed animals, which are bred to feed people, and more vast areas to let such animals graze. Then, too, American fast food diets are spanning the globe now, which diets demand gross amounts of meat. Along with the horrific devastation to animal well-being and pain-free existence, what are the consequences of such incredible animal breeding, growth, slaughter, and all, on the earth itself? It just keeps going on and on, more and more.

It has been said that there may be no other single human activity that has a bigger negative impact on the planet than the overwhelming raising of livestock for human consumption. We may think we live on the planet earth, but we really live on one gigantic farm, broken up by cities, forests, oceans, and other waterways. Globally, per year, this planet farm produces 586 tons of milk, 124 tons of poultry, 91 million tons of pork, 59 million tons of cattle and buffalo meat, and 11 million tons of sheep and goat meat. In the USA alone, 9 million animals a year are raised and slaughtered to feed people. Also produced are zillions of dozens of eggs, furs of various kinds for people to wear, leather for shoes, boots, horse tack, belts, and whatever else. Even most vitamin capsules and other pill capsules are made of gelatin, which is an animal product. In fact, the list of different products made from animals is very, very long.

The effects of factory farming on the environment are vast, deep, and dangerous. Many, many forests have been cut and cleared to raise food for animals, or to be grazing land for animals. Seventy percent of the Amazon rain forest is gone forever, along with the habitats it sheltered for animals, birds, and indigenous peoples. Trees “soak up” carbon dioxide when they photosynthesize, and at the same time, they give out oxygen into the air which we all need to breathe. The less trees, the more CO2, and the less O2! Deforestation reduces carbon “sinks,” causing stored gases to be released from the soil and into the atmosphere, accelerating climate change. “Dead zones” appear, which are areas of land in which few species can survive. Most of the earth’s arable land is dedicated to livestock production, 26% for livestock grazing and 33% to grow livestock feed. Animals in feedlots receive 79% of US grain. An additional four billion people could be fed with the grain fed to the animals, because it takes a whopping amount of grain to produce a little beef – 16 pounds of grain to get 1 pound of beef. Livestock grazing impacts negatively 14% of threatened or endangered animals and 33% of threatened or endangered plants.

Not only is land impacted very negatively by factory farming, but water is also. Agriculture uses up 70% of the world’s fresh water. Water is used at all stages of production agriculture. A great deal is used to grow the food for the animals. One pound of beef uses 1,799 gallons of water, one pound of pork uses 576 gallons of water, and one pound of chicken uses 468 gallons of water. Tons of water are needed to clean up filthy factory farms, slaughterhouses, and dirty transport trucks. Of course, each farmed animal needs water to drink every day, into the billions. Altogether, factory farming has a huge impact on the water supply.

Air quality is also very negatively impacted. Animal agriculture produces more greenhouse gases than any other industry. Globally, livestock greenhouse gas estimates range from 14.5 % to 51% of total toxic air pollution. Ruminants like cattle, sheep, and goats emit methane during digestion, which is a key contributor to global warming. Liquified animal waste emits 160 known toxic gases, including hydrogen sulfide. Nitrogen can become gaseous and turn into ammonia, creating water acidification and ozone layer depletion. As a way to get rid of animal waste, some factory farms spray waste into the air in small droplets, carrying a plethora of microorganisms and pathogens into surrounding communities, where citizens have to breathe that contaminated air. Farmed animals create one million tons of excretia every day, which is three time the human amount.

In hog factory farming operations, animal waste is collected in huge lagoons underneath where the animals live, and also in mammoth outdoor lagoons. These lagoons can be as large as several football fields, and they can leak, leaching into ground water, contaminating nearby wells, and causing water to be unsafe for people, farm animals, and wildlife. When the waste is spread onto fields, it often runs off into waterways. The resulting overload of nutrients into those waterways causes rapid algae growth and depletes the water of oxygen, killing vast numbers of fish and other aquatic life. Water runoff also transports dangerous fecal bacteria such as E coli into waterways and wells, as well as undigested antibiotics. More than 75% of the antibiotics fed to animals end up in urine and feces undigested, which can contaminate crops and be ingested by humans with unknown effects. There have been several sizable catastrophes due to animal waste pollution of the environment and water supply, including illnesses and deaths.

To add to the very dangerous mess, there is also the air pollution from the diesel and gas fuels which are used liberally to grow crops, transport them, and take the animals to slaughter, and then to market. Slaughterhouses, themselves, use incredible amounts of power, all causing some kind of pollution. And, don’t forget the supermarkets, who use vast amounts of power and packaging supplies, just to get the meat and other animal products to the consumer, who uses pollution-causing fuel to get to the store. All that animal meat needs power to be cooked, too. The meat can’t be eaten raw, like a carrot or an apple.

To sum up this discussion, major deleterious effects of factory farming include:

  • Rampant deforestation
  • Rising greenhouse gas emissions
  • Mass species extinctions
  • Water scarcity
  • Food scarcity
  • Widespread pollution of land, water, and air
  • Loss of habitats for wildlife and plants

It seems to me that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! Any of us can help stop the devastation, when we DON’T BUY, WEAR, OR EAT ANIMAL PRODUCTS. We want those terrible factory farming industries to go out of business. Damage to our world is happening that is permanent (like species extinction and old growth forest clearing). I used to work for the railroad, and we had to study and pass a rules test. Well, railroad rule #1 is “If in doubt, take the safe course.” Good rule! Use it to protect our earth!

Copyright - Dr. Joyce 2017 - The Caring Heart

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