How Does Our Consumption of Animal Products Affect the Environment? Essay

How Does Our Consumption of Animal Products Affect the Environment? Essay

Length: 1453 words (4.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Strong Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

My starting point for this paper was the movie Food Inc. directed by Robert Kenner. Although the film’s main purpose was to expose how detrimental today’s food industry is to our health, at the same time I found myself wondering how the food industry and our diets affect the environment. The film mentions how the meat industry takes heavy tolls on the environment because of the land that must be devoted in order to raise livestock—both to grow the food for the animals to eat and to provide a place for the animals to reside. The film also mentions how there are only 4 or 5 major crops that are grown in America—including corn, wheat, and soybean, which are used a lot for animal feed—which decreases America’s biodiversity (Food). All of these things led me to pursue the question: how does our consumption of animal products affect the environment?
Before talking about how the production of animal products affects the environment, we should look into how much animal products Americans actually consume. An average American takes in 2,700 calories a day, which is one of the largest caloric intakes in the world (“What’s The”). 25% of these calories come from animal products, such as meat, dairy, eggs, and seafood (USDA). In fact, according to Figure 1.0, the average American eats around 200 pounds of meat a year. This includes 62 pounds of beef, 47 pounds of pork, 60 pounds of chicken, and 16 pounds of fish and shellfish. Additionally, Americans also eat around 630 pounds of dairy products a year, 181 of which are drinking milk and 31 of which are cheese (“What’s The”).
The first thing to consider when looking into the production of animal products is what the animals rely on: food. The production of animal feed includes the use of gr...


... middle of paper ...


...rains Energy, Water Supplies." National Geographic. National Geographic Society, 6 Apr. 2012. Web. 3 Nov. 2013. .
"US Organic Food Market Increases." Organic Consumers Association. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Oct. 2013. .
USDA. U.S. Food Consumption As A % Of Calories. 2009. New York Coalition for Healthy School Food, United States. http://www.nyu.edu. Web. 20 Oct. 2013.
"What's Feeding Our Food?." Friends Of The Earth. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Nov. 2013. .
"What's The Average American Diet? | Ultimate Paleo Guide." The Ultimate Paleo Diet Guide | Ultimate Paleo Guide. N.p., 7 Apr. 2013. Web. 17 Oct. 2013. .

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay on Capitalism and the Natural Environment

- Concept of capitalism can be difficult to understand. It is commonly identified by economist and political philosophers as a system in which the means of production are privately owned and operated in the free market in exchange for a profit (Galbraith, 1952). The economical/social system determines the structure of production, the allocation of inputs and outputs, and consumption of goods. Capitalism remains popular in America because it values freedom, much like the people in our country. This is true because it allows individuals to set their own plans and pursue their own goals; in addition, one can decide what career they would enjoy most, thus creating an incentive and reward for achi...   [tags: Free Market, Consumerism, Environment]

Strong Essays
1886 words (5.4 pages)

Essay on Animal Testing

- Imagine being a rabbit; a vertebrate and warm blooded species. Hopping around an open field and eating all greens. All of sudden, you were captured by an unknown human. You start to rattle around your cage figuring out how to escape. About “twenty-five million and 30 million” animals are exploited in experiments; “half are only used through education” (Donna 7). “A 40% is applied in basic research, the 26% for drug development, a 20% are examined for products, and the 14% that is left is applied on education and miscellaneous” (Donna 5)....   [tags: Animal Rights ]

Strong Essays
1723 words (4.9 pages)

Environmental Impact of Meat Consumption and Production Essay

- Now that we have gone over how animal products affect the environment we can now begin discussing how they affect out our body. In this section I will mostly be referring to studies that have tracked eating behaviors and the outcomes of those dieting habits. Diet is hard to follow because there are so many factors going into why someone may have developed a disease, so it becomes difficult to pinpoint one specific variable. However, the studies being conducted now are coming back with some conclusive evidence which could prompt more research into the issue....   [tags: ecological footprint, ecology]

Strong Essays
1063 words (3 pages)

Essay on Economic Impact of Population and Technology on the Environment

- Economic Impact of Population and Technology on the Environment Ask any economist what two things have changed in the past three or so million years since humans first began appearing in demographically significant numbers and he will tell you with unwavering confidence: population and technology. And that economist would be right. These two factors are the root cause of every change in the standard of living we have experienced since the dawn of humanity. Any anthro-ecologist posed with the same question and will offer up little more than a puzzled look....   [tags: Environment Environmental Pollution Preservation]

Free Essays
1130 words (3.2 pages)

The Cloning Of Animal Biotechnology Essay

- ... The process of cloning is also highly risky; it can cause abnormalities in the clone and lead to ultimate failure. Scientists hope to perfect cloning in the future, but many people are unsure of whether it is safe, humane, and morally right. Another accomplishment of animal biotechnology that is closely related to cloning is genetic engineering. Genetic engineering is transferring, adding, or manipulating the DNA of an organism to better adapt it to certain conditions. While similar to cloning, it differentiates in that cloning is creating an exact or almost exact copy of an organism while genetic engineering is experimenting with DNA by changing or switching it in an organism....   [tags: DNA, Genetic engineering, Molecular biology]

Strong Essays
1065 words (3 pages)

Essay on Safety, Health And Environment

- Safety, Health and Environment The process is built near an existing nuclear plant, as that’s where the feed is delivered. The country chosen for the process is the United Kingdom (UK) where the legal framework for the nuclear industry is based around the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 (HSWA), the Energy Act 2013 and the Nuclear installation Act 1965. When building this process the location should be taken account for safety reason. The process has to be near a constant supply of cooling water, however the risk of flooding and tsunamis has to be considered....   [tags: Oxygen, Nitrogen dioxide, Nitric acid, Oxide]

Strong Essays
910 words (2.6 pages)

Negative Effect Plastic has on the Environment Essay

- In 1862, Alexander Parkes unveiled an invention, a compound known as celluloid that would change modern history. This is the first known plastic compound to demonstrate the ability to mold when heated and maintain its shape once cooled. While the chemical compounds have evolved over the years, so have its uses and our dependency on them. If we look around our room today, we can see that nearly every product in our house either consists or was built by some form of plastic. This dependence raises some alarming questions....   [tags: celluloid, plastic compound, recycle]

Strong Essays
2524 words (7.2 pages)

Animal and Cell Models for Human Nutrition Essay

- Assignment Animal and Cell Models for Human Nutrition Table of contents 1. Discussion of study and the process being investigated………………………….3 1.1. Application to human studies……………………………………………3 2. What is known about the mechanisms involved. ………………………………..3 3. The approach and findings of the paper 3.1. Methods……………………………………………………………………4 3.2. Results.……………………………………………………………........….5 3.3. Findings……………………………………………………………………5 4. The different experimental models used to study this particular process 4.1 Animal models……………………………………………………………..6 4.1.1 Rodent models…………………………………………………….6 4.1.1.1 Mouse models…………………………………………….6 4.1.1.2 Rat models………………………………………………..7 4.1.2 Non-human primates...   [tags: health, high fat diet]

Strong Essays
2999 words (8.6 pages)

Meat Based And Plant Based Diets And The Environment Essay

- ... I: “In the lactoovovegetarian diet, the meat and fish calories were replaced by proportionately increasing most other foods consumed (in table 1) in the vegetarian diet except sugar and sweeteners, fats, and vegetable oils. The total weight of food consumed was slightly higher (1002 kg per year) in the lactoovovegetarian diet than in the meat-based diet (995 kg per year). The most food calories consumed in both diets were associated with food grains, and the second largest amount of calories consumed was from sugar and sweeteners....   [tags: Nutrition, Meat, Veganism, Vegetarianism]

Strong Essays
983 words (2.8 pages)

Hydroelectric Power Technology and its Effects on the Environment Essay

- ... Large hydro dams can control floods, which would otherwise affect people living downstream of the project Despite all the advantages of implementing hydroelectric technology, building hydroelectricity dams can be a fetal threat to local wildlife animals. First of all, reservoir water is usually more stagnant than normal river waters; as a result, reservoir will contain higher amounts of nutrients and sediment in which an excess of algae and other aquatic weed can be cultivated. Subsequently, the lives of river animals and plants would be in danger as they can be crowed out by the excessive amount of algae (Cleaning Energy 2013)....   [tags: alternative and renewable energy resources]

Strong Essays
1165 words (3.3 pages)