Effects Of Eating Meat on the Environment | Why Meat Is Bad for the Environment
Environmental Impact of Meat Industry
The meat processing industry is one of the key agents in the formation of environmental problems. According to experts, about 8% of the volume of environmental pollution by industrial enterprises falls on the production of meat products.
Meat Environmental Impact
Poultry farming, slaughtering and meat processing are activities with significant and moderate negative environmental impacts. Obviously, meat processors should do their best to minimize the environmental footprint of their businesses.
And this responsibility is documented for them. From January 1, 2019, to ensure environmental safety, organizations of this type must apply the best available technologies (BAT).
Meat and the Environment
Sources of air pollution are slaughterhouses, fodder shops, sausage production, processing of edible fats. The result of the activities of these industries is the emission of hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, phenols, ketones, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, soot, dust.
Negative Effects of Meat Production: Water Pollution
In order for a meat processing plant to function, a large number of water resources are required. Processing 1 ton of raw materials requires 10 to 30 m3 of water. The degree of meat pollution depends on the nature of the production and the class of equipment used.
After the completion of the production cycle, a large amount of wastewater becomes greasy – approximately 40-55% of the total volume. Wastewater contains many large suspended particles (pieces of meat, fat, bristles, intestines, and paper).
Eating Meat and the Environment
Meat processing plants carry out a full range of cleaning measures:
- the use of recycled water supply;
- dilution of wastewater;
- sewage treatment;
- organization of wastewater composition control.
How Does Eating Meat Harm the Environment: Soil Pollution
It is advisable to use the technological waste from the meat industry in related industries. Bones, bristles, fluff, horns, albumin serve as sources for valuable products.
Effects of Eating Meat on the Environment
Animals that are raised for food consume too many resources and generate a lot of waste. The author of the evidence-based vegan telegram channel Anna Sakharova told us why this brings us closer to a global catastrophe.
Meat Consumption Environmental Impact: 50 Years
Over the past fifty years, the number of farm animals has quadrupled. As of 2014, there were 1.5 billion cows, 1.2 billion sheep, 1 billion goats, 985 thousand piglets, 468 million turkeys, and 21 billion chickens in the world. Each year the number of farms and animals grows, and by 2050 meat consumption may increase by another 76%. In addition to mammals and birds, 150 million tons of fish are produced annually in the world.
Keeping billions of animals requires large amounts of land, food, and water, and the waste from their digestive system affects local and global processes in nature. This is how it goes.
Why Meat Is Bad for the Environment?
31% of greenhouse gases are emitted by livestock and fishing farms. This is mainly methane, which animals produce during digestion. This figure also includes emissions from the use of fuel by fishing vessels and equipment serving pastures and fish farms.
Environmental Cost of Meat
Cows and other ruminants hold the record for methane emissions. The bacteria in their multi-chambered stomachs help digest food, and a byproduct of their work is one of the main greenhouse gases, methane. It is released into the atmosphere through belching, although a small part of it is produced in the intestines. Therefore, the first three places in terms of the number of greenhouse gases emitted are taken by beef, lamb, and cheese.
The digestive system of other farm animals is different from that of ruminants. Chickens and piglets emit fewer greenhouse gases, but several times more than the number of greenhouse gases produced by nuts or peas.
Freshwater fish also produce greenhouse gases. Their excrement and unused food are deposited on the bottom of ponds, where there is almost no oxygen – these conditions are ideal for the appearance of methane.
Meat Industry Environmental Damage
16% of emissions are produced by land used for pastures. Trees, other plants, forest soil, and peat bogs absorb carbon dioxide and convert it into carbon, which they store in themselves. But when trees are cut down and the soil is plowed, they release carbon dioxide back into the air. Deforestation is bad not only because fewer trees emit oxygen and maintain air quality, but also because they release greenhouse gases.
Here, too, cows are involved: they grow and reproduce slowly, so they need more space. One gram of beef protein contains 20 times more ground than the same amount of protein from legumes. Other animals are not far behind: you need ten times more land per gram of pork or chicken protein than from legumes.
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