The End Is Near…. Thanks To Factory Farming

by | January 2, 2018

There are rising concerns over the rapidly deteriorating environment and food security within the agricultural industry, and it’s all due to factory farming.

Industrial agriculture is one of the most unsustainable practices we have in modern civilization. The process is responsible for not only the abuse of millions of animals worldwide daily, but also the abuse of land and natural resources to produce as much food as possible. The current global animal agricultural industry is responsible for one-third of greenhouse gasses. It is also entirely dependent on pesticides, synthetic fertilizers and fossil fuels for transportation.

The rise of factory farming didn’t start in the USA until the 1970’s, but in the past four decades, it has grown exponentially like a disease across the globe. It has brought huge concern over economic problems, public health and the huge carbon footprint it is responsible for, not to mention the inhumane treatment of billions of animals every year.

1. Deforestation

Living beings need oxygen to survive, it’s as simple as that. Where do we get our clean oxygen? From the trees. If there are no trees left, there will be no oxygen and life on Earth will become extinct. Deforestation is a huge problem worldwide. In the USA alone over 260 million acres of forest have been cleared to grow animal feed. This is not a problem that is exclusive to the USA though, in Brazil clearing forest to grow chicken feed has been responsible for the loss of 3 million acres of rainforest. These numbers are shocking and the amount of forest cleared has released enough carbon into the atmosphere to raise the rate of global warming by 50%.

2. Water Pollution

The agricultural industry uses almost 70% of the worlds fresh water supply. Put it into perspective, only 51% of the world’s population has access to clean fresh water. Water that has run off factory farms contains high levels of nitrates and animal waste, which can be deadly to humans and animals alike. Water runoff from farms gather in ‘cesspools’ and leak into adjacent streams and waterways. The nitrates in the water cause toxic algae blooms and create ‘dead zones’ leading to massive areas of water where life is unsustainable. High levels of nitrates in the water are not only a problem for the animals, they have been known to cause blue baby syndrome and spontaneous abortions. This is worrying news for anyone who lives close to factory farms.

3. Air Pollution

Everyone has heard of methane being produced by the farming industry, but the shockingly high amount of it being produced may come as a shock to most. Factory farming is responsible for 37% of the methane being released into the atmosphere. But that’s nothing compared to the carbon dioxide emissions, 90 million tons every year. This is from the fossil fuels used in transport, the synthetic fertilizers, and pesticides. Other harmful compounds like hydrogen sulfide and ammonia are also released by this industry. Something to think about next time you think your ‘organic’ meat is better for you than some veggies.

4. Fossil Fuels

Factory farms are hugely dependent on fossil fuels to grow crops and raise animals. The majority of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers being made from petroleum. The majority of these crops grown using these methods are used for animal feed. This is just adding to the circle of problems with pollution and dependency on fossil fuels. Factory farming in the USA uses approximately 5.5 gallons of fossil fuels per acre. With most farms in the country averaging 418 acres, the amount of fossil fuels they use is close to 2,300 gallons. There are thousands of farms across the globe and this number is representative of just one average sized farm in the USA. When the statistics are put to you it truly is a scary thought.

What can you do to help?

There are several small things you can do to help stop the rise of factory farms, cut down on global carbon emissions and save the environment.

  • Try to avoid animal products if you don’t already.
  • Grow your own veggies and fruits at home. It doesn’t have to be much but every small step counts in the bigger picture.
  • Support your local farmers. They are less likely to be using the huge amount of pesticides as large-scale factory farms.
  • Try to only buy produce from sustainable sources.
  • Raise your children to be more conscious of their own impact on the environment.

 

At the end of the day, we are 7 billion people trying to live on the same planet. There is no other planet we can all move to for a quick fix, so we need to all join together to help slow down the rate of global warming. Make a change today and leave a world for the future generations.

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Alex Jones

Associate Editor, USA | Contactable via [email protected]

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