Greenhouse gas emissions
Livestock plays an enormous role in the global greenhouse gas emissions in the world today. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), livestock is responsible for 18% of the global greenhouse gas emissions (this includes emissions generated from clearing forests and land, making and transporting fertilizer, burning fossil fuels in farm vehicles, and the front and rear end emissions from cattle and sheep), which is more than the whole transport sector (Monbiot, G. 2010). According to a survey, only 12.79% of the 86 people who participated believed that the meat industry was the largest contributor to climate change, 23.53% believed vehicles was the largest cause and 63.95% believed that industrial pollution was the largest cause, (“Survey about meat”, conducted 09/20/14) this shows that not many people are aware of the impact that the meat industry has on the environment. It is suggested that over 50% of the global greenhouse gases caused by humans can be attributed to livestock and their by-products (Sustainabletable, 2014). “Livestock are one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems. Urgent action is required to remedy the situation” says Henning Steinfield, chief of FAO’s livestock Information and Policy Branch (Rohrer J, Peterson A. 2008).
University of Oxford scientists conducted a large study of tens of thousands of British people’s daily eating habits which showed that meat-rich diets (more than 100g a day) caused double the climate-warming emissions of vegetarian diets. They found out that a ...
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...to 800,000 tonnes of pork, or one sixth of the world’s total meat consumption (Monbiot, G. 2010).
The FAO warned that in order to avoid the level of damage to the climate worsening, the environmental costs per unit of livestock production must be cut by one half. This has not occurred and globally the demand for meat is growing fast (Merkes, 2012). For example, Australian’s are one of the biggest meat-eaters, on average, Australians eat 111.8 kilograms per year and approximately 310 grams per day. That is 3 times more than the maximum recommended daily intake, according to the Australian Government’s National Health and Medical Research Councils’ Healthy Eating Guidelines. Eating large amounts of red and processed meats can have serious negative human health impacts including increased risks of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and obesity (Makeitpossible.com, 2014).
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