With all the recent 350 ppm hoopla, I am astonished at the lack of mention regarding the effects of animal agriculture on, well, everything. The surrounding events hit all the basics — land, water, energy, pollution — yet nothing and no one focused on the biggest contributor to all of these topics.
It was like Al Gore coordinated the event (he who also failed to mention animal-ag in his documentary).
In 2006, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization released a report "Livestock's Long Shadow" stating that animal-ag is the biggest contributor to global greenhouse gasses — 18 percent at that time, but now believed to be at 51 percent (Livestock and Climate Change, by Goodland & Anhang). Furthermore, 80 percent of agricultural land in this country is delegated to raising livestock (Vesterby and Krupa, 2001), not to mention that livestock creep onto designated range-land and decimate public forests as well (www.fseee.org/appeals/frog); one-third of all U.S. raw materials are used in the [animal-ag] process: feed, water, fuel (E magazine, "The Case Against Meat," Motavalli). One mid-sized feedlot (dairy or beef) churns out a half-million pounds of manure each day; the methane that cattle and their manure produce has a global-warming effect equal to that of 33 million automobiles (Center for Science in the Public Interest, "Six Arguments for a Greener Diet"); the pollution strength of raw manure is 160 times greater than raw municipal sewage (John Lang, "Manure Proves to Be Massive Environmental Problem," Scripps Howard News Service, 24 April 1998). I'll stop there; I'd need a feature or two just to summarize the basic details.
I know many people eat "free-range" and "pastured" meats, but would it not be greener to re-wild those pastures? Just because the land can't grow crops for us does not mean we need to utilize it to satisfy our palate. We do not need to, nor should we, eat meat anymore. The health implications are for another letter. It's time for us to evolve — for the health of our species, biodiversity and the climate.
— Joseph Jamison