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Saving The Environment With Veganism Essay

1125 words - 5 pages

A United Nations report states that land used for animal agriculture, both for grazing and production of crops fed to livestock, takes up an astounding 30% of land on Earth. ("Meat Production Wastes Natural Resources") To meet the industry’s demands, over 260 million acres of forest in the U.S. have been cleared to grow grain fed to farm animals. ("Meat Production Wastes Natural Resources") With that in mind, the meat industry also dumps disease-causing pathogens through animal waste that pollutes water and forces the need for waste lagoons to be constructed, which are susceptible to leaking and flooding. ("Facts about Pollution from Livestock Farms”) Scientists say that about 14% of the world’s greenhouse gases are released by said agriculture industries, which is a growing concern for climate change and global warming. (Silverman) The meat industry uses one-third of all the fossil fuels consumed in the United States. (Moore) There is no question that farming animals has a negative effect on the environment and steps should be taken to mitigate air and water pollution risks and future deforestation. If animal agriculture was phased out, land used for animal grazing could be returned to forest land and some of it converted into fields for cultivating crops for humans. A global shift toward veganism, resulting in the elimination of the meat and animal agriculture industries, would protect the environment from various detrimental effects.
Phasing out animal agriculture and replacing it with stronger, safer plant cultivation would greatly reduce pollution released into the environment as animal waste, burning fossil fuels, and contaminated water runoff. The animal waste produced in factory farms is dumped into immense open-air lagoons that cover the area of several football fields. These waste lagoons are prone to leaking, and in one such instance in 1995 an eight-acre lagoon full of hog waste burst and spilled 25 million gallons of manure into the New River. About 10 million fish were killed in this spill and 364,000 acres of wetlands for shell-fishing were closed. ("Facts about Pollution from Livestock Farms") When all the waste of animals is concentrated in a single area, the risk of water pollution is greatly increased. If these animals were left to graze in the wild they would be spread out, sparing the environment from these disasters. Manure is ridden with bacteria and has caused numerous outbreaks of disease in the past, such as the 1993 contamination of Milwaukee’s drinking water with Crytosporidium, resulting in over 100 deaths, 400,000 illnesses, and $37 million in wage and productivity loss. ("Facts about Pollution from Livestock Farms") Converting to only plant agriculture would eliminate all risk of water contamination with manure and do away with the need for waste lagoons.
Deforestation in order to clear land for grazing animals and growing grain for livestock is extremely inefficient and is destroying our fragile natural...

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