Raising Livestock For Meat Consumption Essay

Raising Livestock For Meat Consumption Essay

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In Australia, the livestock industry places a significant strain on the environment, with implications of environmental deterioration at unsustainable levels. Raising livestock for meat consumption has been described by the United Nations as “one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems,” as it is responsible for a large percentage of environmental deterioration. Intensive farming, the system used to raise meat for slaughter, consumes a third of the world’s fresh water and contributes to destruction of rainforests, soil, and habitat (ARRCC, 2013) (Walsh, 2013). A vegetarian diet, practiced by the majority of the world’s population, may reduce these environmental impacts substantially and establish a more sustainable method of farming. This diet may reduce harm to the environment through the removal of the cause and effect relationship between livestock farming and fossil fuel emissions. However, there is also evidence to suggest that crop and vegetable farming can be just as toxic for the environment, albeit for different reasons (Archer, 2011).
Unsustainability is one of the most significant issues to plague livestock farming and is the reason many environmentalists advocate an animal-free diet. Livestock, primarily cattle and sheep, are directly responsible for methane production, soil erosion, and consumption of resources, exhausting “much of the world 's crops and by inference a great deal of freshwater, fertilisers and pesticides” (Carus, 2010) (Walsh, 2013). The destruction of the environment’s native flora and fauna, and soil trampling and overgrazing has the the direct effect of considerable biodiversity decline (Carter, 2015). Additionally, environmentally-friendly crop yields ar...

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...ices are more likely to be implemented and effective in increasing sustainability of the food industry.
It is undeniable that intensive livestock farming, particularly cattle, is causing long term environmental detriment, and that the current model of farming is unsustainable in the long term. A systematic dependence of fossil fuels and disregard for habitat, biodiversity, and rainforest, is causing a variety of significant issues that will have long-reaching effects on the environment. As it is, there is conflict between sustainable foods and ever-increasing production needs to meet a growing population. However, sustainable agriculture is not best achieved through a vegetarian diet. The best way to maintain a balance between sustainability and demand may be to make the switch to livestock that have less environmental impact and decrease dependence on fossil fuels.

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