Unethically farming animals in order to satiate a large demand for animal products is one of the driving forces behind climate catastrophe.

A slab of juicy ribeye meat or a rotisserie chicken leg may cause some mouths to water, but that should be stopped by the thought of abusive animal agriculture and the slow death of Earth due to global warming.

Consumers nonchalantly chew on their meals, and hardly ever pay mind to where their food comes from –  animals inhumanely held hostage in dimly lit and cramped factory farms until they are slaughtered. Plus, the meat served in grocery stores to satisfy humans’ cravings contributes to animal agriculture’s exacerbation of global warming. Culprits including deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions and water pollution spill into humans’ ecosystems as a result of unsustainable animal agricultural practices.

Animal agriculture can no longer be perpetuated and consumers should adopt an environmentally-sound diet that is not only ethical, but can reverse the grim global climate crisis.

According to the Humane League, 99{85424e366b324f7465dc80d56c21055464082cc00b76c51558805a981c8fcd63} of all animals are raised for food in the United States. Cows, pigs and chickens are subject to nauseating and sickening torture. As these animals fight for their lives in factory farms, their bodies are pressured to produce the maximum amount of product and profit for companies, whether it would be eggs, flesh or dairy products. As consumers want happy stomachs filled with protein, the environment is barely clinging on as cattle’s digestion process and stockpiles of manure shoot up atmospheric methane emissions.

In an NYU news release, Matthew Hayek, an assistant professor in NYU’s Environmental studies department said, “Policymakers should consider methane emissions along with a gamut of other major environmental issues stemming from concentrated meat and dairy production, including water pollution and infectious animal-borne disease breakouts, to inform policies that guide food systems toward a better direction.”

Animal agriculture practices need to be mitigated as corporations’ profits and money-hungry motives keep them alive and running and until global warming wipes humanity off of the face of the Earth. According to the Humane League, cows produce around 150 billion gallons of methane every day, worsening climate change. An innovative and sustainable meat sector has to be propelled forward, as it would evolve into a win-win situation. Captive cattle will no longer be brutally slaughtered in unsanitary conditions and the animal agriculture industry’s carbon footprint will shrink.

However, methane emissions are not the sole factor that exacerbates climate change. Nonstop deforestation accelerates climate change’s harrowing impacts as pasture lands are mowed and cleared to become fields of corn, soy and wheat, which feed the suffering cattle on factory farms. Forests are wiped out for the sake of cattle that not only contribute to methane emissions but are later inhumanely slaughtered for consumption.

Water pollution that consists of captive animals’ phosphorus and nitrogen waste often flows into rivers or lakes. Faeces that spill into bodies of water create algae blooms, resulting in dead marine creatures washing ashore and the utter destruction of aquatic habitats.

The effects of animal agriculture come full circle, affecting every possible living organism on Earth. The severity of animal agriculture has to be acknowledged on all fronts, whether through legislation or within corporations.

A common counter for not implementing more humane practices before inevitably slaughtering animals for consumption is the cost. While corporations are driven by profit margins, it’s worth noting that changes to animal welfare are not as detrimental economically as theorized. In a peer-reviewed study in 2019 by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, it states, “Considering the costs of implementing higher welfare systems, cost benefit analyses have found that the total income potential was still increased.”

Consumers can choose to eat with compassion by cooking plant-based meals that would, over time, reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Whipping up savoury dishes such as veggie burgers, vegan barbecue pizza and mushroom shawarma wraps are sustainable options that aid the environment. The meat industry could also grow steaks from non-genetically engineered animal cells  to minimize meat’s environmental footprint and conserve the earth’s natural resources.

Original source: https://dailytitan.com