“When a man wants to murder a tiger, he calls it sport; when a tiger wants to murder him, he calls it ferocity.” —George Bernard Shaw, writer and Nobel laureate (1856–1950)
Well, well, well… the only purpose of sharing the quote is to bring your notice to the topic I am to talk about (though I must admit I also liked the quote for the sake of sharing with you all out there). These days so many people (almost every other human being) and organizations are talking about turning vegetarian. And, the reason they give: it helps in saving the environment!
‘Crazy!’ was my first reaction but then I wondered if this is real… umm. Although I am a vegetarian (without even knowing if it actually saves the planet or not – I just have been brought up that way, see), I was pretty convinced by the reasons given by my beloved friends. I was so convinced that I surfed through internet all night to see if it really holds true and here I have come up with a few interesting facts; the facts that make it certain (even if to an extent) that by eating less meat (or for that matter no meat at all) you can help in saving your abode.
Meat (any meat) is carbon-intensive!
Many organizations such as United Nations as well as many researchers have proved that livestock, all over the globe, accounts for almost 9% of CO2 emissions as well as other harmful greenhouse gases. The percentage is more than what is emitted by various forms of transport put together worldwide.
Methane and Nitrous Oxide
Cow and sheep (alone) contribute to about 37% of methane emissions, which is almost three and twenty times that of generated by human activities and to about 64% of ammonia that may be responsible for acid rain. Livestock accounts for approx. 65% human-related nitrous oxide.
Now, cattle consume much more energy than is consumed by any food crop. It may, in fact, consume as much sixteen percent more grains as it may produce meat – almost six pounds of grain is required to make one pound of beef! Then we have to spend energy on activities like refrigeration and transportation.
Approximately 30% of the total good-for-crop-growing-lands are used for livestock farming. In fact, if we compare the two – crop farming and livestock farming – the former may consume one acre of land whereas the latter may need around twenty times of this. According to a study if American will reduce their consumption of meat by 10% then around 60 million people would be sufficiently fed worldwide. Further to one more study there are almost one billion of cattle that may weigh twice as much as the human population.
Soil erosion and desertification/ deforestation
Another threat may be the fact that raising cattle for their meat causes excessive soil erosion and desertification. 20% of fertile grazing lands around the globe (including downlands of Southern England to uplands of Ethiopia to mountains of Nepal) are already converted into degraded lands.
Too much water consumption
Not only land, the cattle drinks tons of water too. In comparison to growing crops like potatoes that may need less water (around 99.6% less than what cattle rearing may need) the cattle consumes too much of water. Only 229 pounds of water is needed to grow 1 pound of potatoes whereas a pound of beef may need 9,000l of water. Can you imagine? Just by leaving to eat beef you can save approximately 300, 000 gallons of water in a year!
The effect of raising cattle can be the most damaging. According to a survey made the global production of meat increased to 230 million tons in 2000 from 130 million tons in 1970s that is further expected to become more than twice of this by 2050. No guesses here, to meet this demand cattle will be raised intensively that is definitely going to disturb environmental sustainability.
When eating meat, we don’t realize that the animals are usually slaughtered in the most inhumane manner. Bulls are slaughtered without even giving anesthesia or pain-killers whereas the male chicks, which are considered to be of no use at all, are thrown into a grinding machine alive!
Then there are a few other facts such as:
- Eating meat may make us prone to diseases as any animal waste consists of several pathogens like E coli, Salmonelia or Cryptosporidium. These pathogens may get transferred to humans.
- Turning veggie may help at reducing your ecological footprints.
- Raising cattle may also cause damage to animal’s natural habitat and may further result in long-term harm to endangered species.
Ruby Tyagi holds an experience of many years in field of Content Development. She consistently writes for various topics including home decor and improvement; good housekeeping; environmental aid; home and garden and health and lifestyle topics on behalf of Blooming that offers a wide range of green things such as plant pots, outdoor artificial plants etc and on behalf of Genite that offers a wide range of home, office, education or business products such as pin boards. In her leisure time she prefers to dance or paint.