This is a sensitive issue. When suggesting eating less meat to help curb global pollution, the intent is often misconstrued. But the fact of the matter is, eating less meat helps the environment. Promote sustainable farming by purchasing organic food and meats.
Livestock, such as cows, produce almost as much methane pollution as cars. Every year livestock produce about 80 million metric tons of methane pollution and account for 28% of methane emissions resulting from human activities.
Factory farming is rampant in the United States. The majority of animals raised for consumption are raised on factory farms. Factory farms are “farms” where animals are overcrowded and confined in an area without grass or other vegetation, often inside of a type of factory. Obviously, the main issue with these “farms” is the cruelty to the animals, but environmental issues also arise. 40 percent of livestock animals in the United States are raised on only 2 percent of America’s farms.
Factory farming leads to water polluted by waste. On ranches, or other farms, animals are able to graze freely in fields. They drop their waste in grass, instead of on concrete, and it is absorbed back into the soil. In factory farms, a large amount of waste is collected into one area and washed away. The run off often pollutes any near by water sources.
Factory farms often disregard the welfare of the animals they are raising. They live in cramped, filthy, and inhumane conditions. The animals from these farms are given chemicals to make them grow at unnatural rates and to unusual sizes.
I am not going to spend much time in this section, even though there is much more to say on the matter of animal welfare. The purpose of this post is the environmental concerns surrounding meat, not to serve as vegetarianism promotion. However, I have done an enormous amount of research on the matters of animal cruelty from credible sources and would be more than willing to answer any questions.
Buying organic meat guarantees that the animals were raised in sustainable conditions and without chemicals. Buying meat from local farms also avoids all of the environmental hazards of factory farms. There are more organic and sustainable brands available than you might think. Just read labels carefully at the grocery store, or stock up next time you are at a farmers market.
Also, cutting down on meat is a great way to reduce the impact from livestock. Choose a day out of the week to not eat meat. For people that are reluctant to eat “vegetarian” foods like tofu or soy, just cook regular meals, like pasta, minus the meat.
If cows pollute so much, wouldn’t it be better to eat more of them?
The simple answer is no. Unfortunately, livestock animals, like cows, are treated like commodities, thus they are subject to the laws of supply and demand. The days of cows roaming free on the plains are over; they are bred in captivity to fulfill the demand for their meat. If the consumption of meat goes down, the demand will decrease. If the demand decreases, then supplier will bred less cows for consumption.