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Environment Implications

Animal husbandry is directly affecting climate change, which is the biggest global health threat in the 21st century.   It is a bigger problem than heart disease, diabetes, cancer, obesity, HIV, AIDS, vector borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever, respiratory problems, dementia, road injuries, bush fires, drought, floods, and crop failures.  The effects of climate change are varied and many.  

Climate change threatens all of mankind, and no one anywhere in the world can escape its damages.  Human and environmental problems cannot be separated but are linked together and affect each other, and if unabated, will eventually annihilate us, and cause extinction, not only for animals, but also for human beings.  

This alarming threat must be given top priority by both grassroots organizations and world governments and we must do our best to execute solutions.  (Refer to the Paris Agreement). 21

Cattle out-number people in the world.  Agriculture is the third largest contributor of global emissions.  The carbon emissions from animals are 50% methane, 36% nitrate oxide and 14% carbon dioxide, collectively they create dangerous levels of greenhouse warming.  Effluent22 wastes from animals carry harmful bacteria, which contaminate both surface and groundwater.  Fouled water drunk by people can cause hazardous health issues.

The need to raise large numbers of animals brings large-scale conversion of forests and vegetation into farmland. The deforestation of the Amazon, known as the lung of the world, has eradicated great areas of pristine virgin rainforests, which leads to great losses of species.  Livestock farming also causes soil erosion affecting crop yields.   Farmers are using more and more pesticides and artificial fertilizers, which defile the soil and the surrounding environment. 

Soil erosion will be another devastating outcome when an area is completely deforested and there are no trees to anchor fertile soil.

It is estimated that more than 50 billion land animals will be raised and slaughtered for food in the next year.  Most of them will be reared in conditions that cause them to suffer unnecessarily while also harming people and the environment in significant ways. Climate change due to animal farming alone poses multiple risks to health and well-being through increased risk of extreme weather disasters.  These include floods, droughts and heat waves, which have been predicted to increase in occurrence in the coming years.

Scientists warn that California will experience more extreme weather events, including droughts and floods, if global fossil fuel consumption continues unaltered.

'It's dire': farmers battle their worst drought in 100 years

in New South Wales

An obvious way to reduce agriculture emissions is to minimize people’s consumption of meat and dairy products. This would shrink livestock populations and relieve the pressure for growing grain for animal feed and the grain can be used directly to feed humans.  This act would also effectively solve hunger problems for many poorer countries around the world. 

We would then have greater freedom to develop stock-free farming that doesn’t use artificial chemicals, manure, or animal parts such as bone, blood, and fishmeal.  Stock-free farming23 means we will have healthier crops with less weeds, pests, and diseases.   This not only will be of immense value in feeding the poor, but also will create more trees and natural habitat to make for a greater impact to reverse the devastations of climate change.


In Conclusion

Change starts with the individual.   All advocates for a better world must concentrate on changing their own lifestyles.   The quickest, most effective way is to avoid over consumption in general, especially consumption of meat and diary products. 

The world’s resources are finite.  If we do not curtail our habits of over eating, drinking, shopping, and relentlessly chasing after goods and wealth that are out of line with an ecologically friendly philosophy, we will soon deplete our planet’s natural recourses and will be unable to compensate for our losses.

Efforts must be spent on our own education and awareness, while at the same time, building community support and calling for health and welfare enhancing government policies on environmental issues.   We urgently need to: 

  1. Open our minds to making changes in our lifestyles
  2. Reduce carbon emissions
  3. Invest in renewable energy
  4. Prevent deforestation
  5. Reduce shopping, especially for fashions and food
  6. Support developing nations
  7. Learn how to sustain the earth’s resources
  8. Surveil diseases
  9. Pay attention to our responsibilities towards future generations who will live with the legacy we leave behind



17 How Carbon affect us in the long term – long term effects of fossil fuel burning 

18 Increase infringement of rights of children. what price our future generations will we pay? View point of Lord David Puttnam

19 Prof Frank Fenner Australian predicts extinction in 100 years

20 WHO report Impact of Climate change on health 

21 The Paris Agreement

(French: Accord de Paris) is an agreement within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), dealing with greenhouse-gas-emissions mitigation, adaptation, and finance, starting in the year 2020

On 1 April 2016, the United States and China, which together represent almost 40% of global emissions, issued a joint statement confirming that both countries would sign the Paris Climate Agreement. 175 Parties (174 states and the European Union) signed the agreement on the first date it was open for signature.

22 Effluent wastes (22)

Effluent is defined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency as "wastewater - treated or untreated - that flows out of a treatment plant, sewer, or industrial outfall. Generally refers to wastes discharged into surface waters". ... Effluent only refers to liquid discharge.

23 Stock free farming  

Stock-free organic farming is a system of cultivation that views farms as part of the wider eco-system and excludes artificial chemicals ('agrochemicals': 'pesticides', 'herbicides', 'chemical fertilizers'), livestock manures, animal remains from slaughterhouses, genetically modified material and anything of animal

24 Anti biotic resistance 

25 Vegan athletes 

26 Len Chiu

27 Different phases of veganism



Acknowledgment for the photographs:


Germany’s Decision to Affirm Legality of Male Chick Shredding Shines Global Spotlight on Practice A Meat and Dairy Industries

 Animal Cruelty

Cows with Mastitis are in great pain causing them to stand unnaturally.

Caged pigs in China

Unimaginable misery in Mexican slaughter houses

Drought in New South Wales


Soil Erosion

California Experience Extreme Weather Events

Vegan Food Pyramid

Beyonce and Jay Z

Hong Kong body builders

Further Reading/Viewing

What the Health: Documentary on veganism, available on Netflix.

Conspiracy: Documentary on the cattle industry, available on Netflix.

21 Things the Egg Industry Doesn’t Want You to See

Hog Hell:  How Pigs are Raised and Killed for Meat

Hong Kong farmers give antibiotics to healthy chickens ... and raise supervision concerns

Fork over Knives: Documentary on plant based diet

What you eat mattersH.O.P .E

Let us be Heroes

Podcast Dairy Scary by Tim Samuel