The World Health Organization expresses that methane from livestock is the second largest contributor to Global Warming after carbon dioxide from the combustion of coal and other fossil fuels. Animal Agriculture is also said to account for 91% of the Amazon Rainforest’s destruction. Not palm oil, not infrastructure; but raising livestock. So, by decreasing the constant over breeding of cattle for the sole purpose of cultivating meat and dairy products, we could see an extremely beneficial change in the perpetuated growth of the Climate Crisis. The release of greenhouse gases in itself insulates our planet and degrades the ozone layer. Both our climate and the ozone layer of the atmosphere are vital in maintaining ecological systems and biological health of all inhabitants on Earth.
There’s more that goes into animal agriculture besides just an obvious expulsion of greenhouse gases: high water demands, fertilizer leaching, and immense erosion from farm lands. Ground water has become a scarcity and aquifers running dry becomes more and more of a possibility. Only about 2.5–2.75% of the water on earth is fresh and even less is drinkable/accessible. Without making conscious decisions regarding our supply it is likely nations will have to get creative in how to continuously supply this necessitated item. Erosion and fertilizer secretion also pose worrisome outcomes regarding animal agriculture. Tree roots anchor soil down and prevent it from encroaching on other surrounding ecosystems. When removing the trees from the equation–as what is happening on a global scale–precipitation, wind, and animals are able to allow for this spread and add to disruptions in mostly aquatic and marine ecosystems. As this soil proliferates different habitats, an abundance of nutrients from fertilizers and feces are brought with it. Although these elements are vital for plant growth, their presence in water can cause mass algal blooms and hypoxic environments to form. Without oxygen present in the water and with prospering algae accumulations, the organisms in these environments will be unable to reproduce and eventually die due to this accession from their ranges’ of tolerance.
Not Just the Health of Our Planet
If the health of our planet was not enough to elucidate the harmful instigations of animal agriculture, health experts have also emphasized the benefits of a plant-based diet for human health as well. Diets without meat and dairy have been said to support your immune system, reduce inflammation, maintain a healthy weight, increase fiber, and lower your risk of contradicting cardiovascular and cancerous diseases later in life. Not to mention, naturally, our bodies can not digest dairy products past childhood. This ability to do so is the mutation rather than those identified as “lactose-intolerant.” The overconsumption of these products has forced our bodies to continually digest these products despite our innate inabilities.
This is not to say that meat is the same; however, the pure immensity of beef, poultry, and other animal bi-products that an average American eats per week (~39.55 oz) far exceeds the healthy and recommended amount (less than 2 oz per day).