Animal Agriculture and the Environment

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Humans have a major impact on the environment. The choice between vegetarianism and a meat-inclusive diet also makes a difference on the environment. Vegetarianism is the practice of excluding meat from your diet. There are six main types of vegetarianism: lacto-ovo, vegan, macrobiotic, fruitarian, raw-foods diet, and natural-hygiene diet. The two most common types of vegetarianism are lacto-ovo (consuming animal products like dairy but no meat), and vegan (consuming no animal products at all). Meat-inclusive diets are made possible with animal agriculture, the farming system of raising animals for slaughter. Both diet types, vegetarian and meat-inclusive, include the farming of edible plants, but meat-inclusive diets also include the additional steps of feeding the crops to the livestock and then slaughtering them for meat products before shipping the food items for human consumption. These additional steps require that more plants be grown for the livestock to consume (called feed crops), before a final product is produced. Through animal agriculture, copious amounts of water and land resources are used and air pollutants are produced. While all agriculture is destructive, animal agriculture is far more harmful to the environment than vegetarianism. Water is one of the largest environmental issues the world faces today. Year after year new efforts and regulations to conserve and clean water are put into regulation. The spread of vegetarianism is great for a thirsty world since it uses only a small part of the water used by animal agriculture. With only eight percent of the world’s water used for animal agriculture, this would be a great savings. In the United States of America alone, one-third of usable water goes to animal ag... ... middle of paper ... ... 2014. "How Much Water Should You Drink Every Day." WebMD. WebMD, 25 Jan. 2014. Web. 24 Apr. 2014. Messina, Virginia and Mark Messina. The Vegetarian Way: Total Health for You and Your Family. New York City: Three Rivers Press, 1996. Print. Steinfeld, Henning, et al. Livestock’s Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2006. Print. “Veganism and the Environment: By the Numbers.” Culinary Schools. Culinary Schools, n.d. “Vegetarian.” ProCon. ProCon, 16 Apr 2014. Web. 23 Apr 2014. Vidal, John. "10 Ways Vegetarianism Can Help Save the Planet." The Observer 17 July 2010: 52. Print. 23 Apr 2014. "Water Stress to Affect 52% of World’s Population by 2050.” Environmental Leader. Environmental Leader, 14 Jan. 2014. Web. 24 Apr. 2014. “Why Go Veg?.” Vegetarian Times. Cruz Bay Publishing Inc, n.d. Web. 23 Apr 2014.
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