Vegetarianism and Ecology
Vegetarianism, the meat industry and ecology are closely interrelated.
An intervention, using all available resources, is needed to stop the mass destruction of the only planet we have, and the meat industry and the habit of eating meat are to blame for the irresponsible and unneccessary waste of resources and mass pollution.
One third of world's land surface is being turned into desert because of meat production, and more than half of world's oceans are nearing the point of ecological collapse because of overfishing.
Meat consumption is linked to huge problems concerning the enviroment that the world currently faces, like the global warming, desertification, loss of reinforests and the problem of acid rains.
More than 90% of British lakes, ponds and swamps has been dried out- only to make space for agricultural land used to feed more animals. The story is more or less the same in all other parts of the world.
In the USA alone, in the last 200 years one third of the primary surface layer has been ruined for rearing animals. In an attempt to cover this shortage, more than 100 million hectares of forest land has been turned to agricultural areas, and deforestation is still going on at a rate of 0,4 hectares per second.
Farm animal population is producing 550 tons of excrement each second, which is more than 20 times more than humans are producing! In Germany and Holland alone there are 3 tons of stored liquid manure per every inhabitant, which is nearing the total number of 200 million tons. In Pel region in Holland, 90% of forests have died out because of acid rains caused by pig excrements.
Cattle farms are the cause of 85% of total nitrogen evaporation in the form of ammonia in the atmosphere, which is thought to be the main cause of deforestation. Ammonia from animal excrement causes acid rains which destroy the waters and the flora, thus causing more damage than all cars and factories in the world combined. Nitrogen and ammonia could be significantly reduced by reducing the number of cattle farms, which would require a change in people's diets.
Reinforests are destroyed to make grazing areas for cattle. In Central and South America every year an area the size of Belgium is destroyed. Since 1950, half of all the world's reinforests have been destroyed. After six or seven years of pasture, the soil cannot even sustain grass anymore, and so it is turned into dust. Reinforest floor is thin and lifeless, so it needs the protection of the roof made of trees.
The Sahara desert was once green and lush, and it grew grain for the Romans. Now, it all disappeared and the desert is growing, in some places it can grow more than 320 kilometers in 20 years. Main cause is excessive pasture of sheep, goats, cammels and cows. As the dessert is growing, the herds are migrating, thus devouring all that stands in front of them.
In only 25 years, around 40% of the Amazonian reinforest, which is called the lungs of our planet, has been destroyed. This magnificient wilderness is source to almost half of our medicine. The effect of such ruthless behaviour is that many rare animal species migrate, disappear and go extinct, many of which still not even discovered.
Timber and meat industry are the source of great profit, and when the soil becomes lifeless, they simply move, cut new trees and become even richer. Native people living in the forests are forced to leave their land, and are sometimes even killed.
Every cow produces at least 60 litres of methane daily. Even the fertilizers which are being spread over the land are producing global warming because they produce nitric oxide, a gas that is 270 times more efficient in trapping heat than CO2. Earth's temperature is slowly rising, and the ice is begining to melt. In the Antarctic, the temperature over the last 50 years has risen by 2,5 degrees C, and 8,000 square kilometers of ice bergs have disappeared.
There are water shortages in many countries. But there is no conservation when it comes to rearing and slaughter of animals. To make one kilogram of grain 200 litres of water are needed. To make one kilogram of meat, 20,000 litres are needed.
After slaughter, the blod of animals flows directly into our rivers, thus polluting them. All the excrements and waste from millions of animals are poured into rivers and seas, which causes the appearance of various algae. It is becoming increasingly apparent to everyone that sources of drinkable water are becoming not only polluted, but also insufficient, and the meat industry is causing most pollution.
In America, more than half of all water is used in the meat industry. Nitrogen from the excrements has polluted some underground waters in such a way that some mineral waters are no longer drinkable. Underground waters are pumped in great amounts to satisfy animals' needs, which contributes even more to water shortages.
Every eight seconds 1 acre of land is destroyed to grow food for animals. The person who becomes vegan saves one acre of land every year.
As opposed to other industries, the meat industry in almost every country is subsidized by the state to keep it profitable.
Using the same land surface to produce one kilogram of meat, 200 kilograms of potatoes and 160 kilograms of tomatoes can be produced in the same time period. Also, instead of 50 kilograms of beef, 1,000 kilograms of cherries, 6,000 kilograms of carrots, and 4,000 kilograms of apples can be produced.
Let's imagine ourselves standing in front of a plate containing 1/2 kilogram of beef steak. Now imagine 45 to 50 people with empty plates in front of them. Instead of that one stake, one cup of cooked cereals could be placed on all those empty plates.
20 vegetarians could be fed using the same land surface needed to feed one "carnivore"!
Washington, Oregon and California alone are using 17 billion kilowatt hours of electricity to rear animals, which is enough to give electric power to all households in the entire country for one month and a half.
For a family of four which concumes meat in one year, the amount of fuel needed to produce that meat equals the amount used in six months of driving a car.
The influence of mass meat industry on global warming equals the influence of car traffic, and when we take into account the deforestation for pasture land and growing food for cattle, turning the forests into deserts, soil erosion, huge waste of water and energy, we can easily see that with every kilogram of meat we consume, in many various ways we destroy and pollute our planet.