They are called feedlots, officially referred to as “Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation” (CAFO) and more commonly known as factory farms. They house thousands of animals in horrid conditions that breed disease and massive environmental degradation. Despite this fact, they remain a non-issue to several major organizations whose job it is to raise awareness on the various issues contributing to our planet’s destruction at an exponential rate.
According to FarmForward, after examining the numbers from the U.S. Department of agriculture they determined that 99 percent of farmed animals in the U.S. are raised on feedlots. We are talking about billions of animals raised for slaughter every year, and that is in the U.S. alone. Globally, more than seventy billion of these animals are raised for slaughter every single year. (source)
“Feedlots are a brilliant representation of how abstract our food industry has come. It’s an efficient system for extracting the maximum yield from animals. That’s the world we live in now. We want to extract the maximum yield from everything, no matter what business you are in.” (source)
Here is a video to illustrate what I am talking about. This footage is from North Carolina, where there are more than 2,000 of these farms.
Did you know that the leading cause of rainforest destruction is our own food supply? We tear them down to make room for food crops and livestock grazing, and are doing so at an approximate rate of an entire football field’s worth of forest every single second. Every single day, close to 100 plant/animal/insect species are lost because of this practice. (More facts found within the video clips below.)
Below you will see one example of what factory farming is doing to the environment. The chemicals excreted from animal waste turn the landscape into giant cesspools.
This picture comes from Mishka Henner, and you can view many more of these shocking and disturbing photos of feedlots here.
Did you know that in 2006, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization issued a report stating that the livestock business generates more greenhouse gas emissions than all forms of transportation combined? Did you know that 51 percent (or more) of global greenhouse-gas emissions are caused by animal agriculture?(source)(source)(source)(source)
“The billions of chickens, turkeys, pigs, and cows who are raised for food each year in the U.S. produce a tremendous amount of excrement, releasing methane and other greenhouse gases into our atmosphere. Methane, which is at least 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide, accounts for 9 percent of the greenhouse-gas emissions in this country. And the 523 million chickens raised and killed each year in Delaware and Maryland alone generate enough waste to fill the dome of the U.S. Capitol about 50 times in a single year – or almost once a week. And each cow emits approximately 66 to 79 gallons of methane every single day. There are currently 88 million cattle in the United States. You do the math. Together, these cows reportedly produce more methane than landfills, natural gas leaks and fracking.” (source)
There are some sources that cite that the UN report only found an 18 percent contribution. Even if it is less than 50 percent, the fact that it has not been mentioned is strange.
Regardless of what the number is, we know it is a big contributor that’s never talked about, but things are slowly changing.
If we are talking about human activity as one (of what could be many) factors contributing to environmental destruction and global climate change, why is it that factory farming is not always included?
Below are a few clips from the upcoming documentary called “Cowspiracy.” It sheds light on the modern day meat industry and its relation to climate change, as well as its detrimental effect on the Earth’s environment, in multiple ways. It goes deeper, and provides more information on the fact that modern day meat consumption is the leading cause of environmental destruction and human induced climate change on our planet, yet we never hear about it.