United States of America - Agriculture Photo by: Francis Dean American agriculture is marked by several trends.
But like it or not, meat-eating is becoming a problem for everyone on the planet. Whether you eat meat or not or how much is a private matter, they might say. Yes, there have been those reports of tropical forest being cut down to accommodate cattle ranchers, and native grassland being destroyed by grazing.
But at least until recently, few environmentalists have suggested that meat-eating belongs on the same scale of importance as the kinds of issues that have energized Amazon Watch, or Conservation International, or Greenpeace. Yet, as environmental science has advanced, it has become apparent that the human appetite for animal flesh is a driving force behind virtually every major category of environmental damage now threatening the human future—deforestation, erosion, fresh water scarcity, air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss, social injustice, the destabilization of communities, and the spread of disease.
How did such a seemingly small matter of individual consumption move so rapidly from the margins of discussion about sustainability to the center? To begin with, per-capita meat consumption has more than doubled in the past half-century, even as global population has continued to increase.
As a result, the overall demand for meat has increased five-fold. That, in turn, has put escalating pressure on the availability of water, land, feed, fertilizer, fuel, waste disposal capacity, and most of the other limited resources of the planet. To provide an overview of just how central a challenge this once marginal issue has become, we decided to survey the relevance of meat-eating to each of the major categories of environmental impact that have conventionally been regarded as critical to the sustainability of civilization.
A brief summary observation for each category is accompanied by quotes from a range of prominent observers, some of whom offer suggestions about how this difficult subject—not everyone who likes pork chops or ribs is going to switch to tofu without a fight—can be addressed.
Deforestation was the first major type of environmental damage caused by the rise of civilization. Large swaths of forest were cleared for agriculture, which included domestication of both edible plants and animals.
Inhowever, the World Hunger Program at Brown University calculated that recent world harvests, if equitably distributed with no diversion of grain to feeding livestock, could provide a vegetarian diet to 6 billion people, whereas a meat-rich diet like that of people in the wealthier nations could support only 2.
In other words, with a present population over 6 billion, that would mean we are already into deficit consumption of land, with the deficit being made up by hauling more fish from the oceans, which are in turn being rapidly fished out. In Central America, 40 percent of all the rainforests have been cleared or burned down in the last 40 years, mostly for cattle pasture to feed the export market—often for U.
Meat is too expensive for the poor in these beef-exporting countries, yet in some cases cattle have ousted highly productive traditional agriculture.
Antelopes, unlike cattle, are adapted to semi-arid lands. They do not need to trek daily to waterholes and so cause less trampling and soil compaction…. Antelope dung comes in the form of small, dry pellets, which retain their nitrogen and efficiently fertilize the soil.
Cows, in contrast, produce large, flat, wet droppings, which heat up and quickly lose much of their nitrogen in the form of ammonia to the atmosphere…. An experimental game ranch in Kenya has been a great economic success while simultaneously restoring the range. Ehrlich, and Gretchen C.
But a few years ago, water experts calculated that we humans are now taking half the available fresh water on the planet—leaving the other half to be divided among a million or more species.
Since we depend on many of those species for our own survival they provide all the food we eat and oxygen we breathe, among other servicesthat hogging of water poses a dilemma.
If we break it down, species by species, we find that the heaviest water use is by the animals we raise for meat.A lot has happened since this post was published in For the most recent research, please check out our up-to-date post about the water footprint of beef.
In a country like the United States, a fifth of all your grain production is dependent upon irrigation.
|Available Services||History[ edit ] In the Paleolithicwild horses formed an important source of food.|
For every pound of beef produced in. Certified Angus Beef (CAB) in Canada and the United States is a specification-based, branded-beef program which was founded in by Angus cattle producers to increase demand for their breed of cattle, by promoting the impression that Angus cattle have consistent, high-quality beef with superior taste.
The brand is owned by the American Angus Association and its 35, rancher members. First, a few preliminaries. To determine the number of animals saved by a vegetarian, we need at least two numbers: the total number of animals killed for food consumed in the US in a given year and the size of the US population during that year.
Grass feeding is a practice not yet familiar to all consumers. % grass-fed beef comes from cows who have grazed in pasture year-round rather than being fed a processed diet for much of their life.
Meat-eating is on the rise in the United States. Rabobank’s recent analysis, American meat consumption increased by 5 percent in – the biggest increase in 40 years. The report. 1/ Includes beef, pork, veal, and mutton/lamb, but excludes edible offals.
2/ Estimated by USDA Note: All poultry and livestock products are on a retail weight basis, except “other chicken” and “turkey” which are reported by USDA on a carcass-weight basis.