I really really don’t want this blog to be a total buzz-kill, because so much about being a vegan is taking a positive, affirmative action to create the kind of world you want to live in. A world where there’s enough food for everyone. Where the environment’s not (pardon my French) getting dicked on. Where animals are treated with respect and compassion. So loads of my posts will be about exciting developments, tasty recipes, fun places to eat and pictures of my cats. But there is no getting away from the fact that the effects of animal agriculture are, to put it mildly, absolutely terrifying.
Here are some of the reasons why we all really need to think carefully about the sustainability of how we produce our food. There Is No Planet B.
The global livestock industry produces more greenhouse gas emissions than transport, but fear of a consumer backlash is preventing action. (Chatham House 2014 report.)
For every 1lb of fish caught, up to 5lbs of unintended marine species are caught and discarded as by-kill. (United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization)
Animal agriculture is responsible for up to 91% of Amazon destruction. (World Bank)
1,000 gallons of water are required to produce 1 gallon of milk. (Water Footprint Network)
Every minute, 7 million pounds of excrement are produced by animals raised for food in the US. (United States Environmental Protection Agency)
In the UK farmers have been warned that they need to dramatically cut the amount of antibiotics used in agriculture, because of the threat to human health. There are concerns that agricultural antibiotic use is driving up levels of antibiotic resistance, leading to new “superbugs”. The Review On Antimicrobial Resistance looked at resistance to antimicrobial drugs, which includes antibiotics as well as antifungal and antiparasitical drugs. Resistance to these drugs is collectively known as antimicrobial resistance. (Review On Antimicrobial Resistance)
Health scares and world hunger
We are currently growing enough food to feed 10 billion people. On average, 40% of global grain production is used in livestock feed. Producing 1kg of beef requires 15 times as much land as producing 1kg of cereals, and 70 times as much land as 1kg of vegetables. (World Wildlife Fund – WWF)
A report from the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer found that scientific evidence is now strong enough to say that processed meat can cause cancer, specifically colorectal cancer. Like smoking, and exposure to asbestos, it’s considered beyond doubt that eating processed meat increases your risk of developing cancer. (WHO)
A MRSA variant has been found in British pork at Asda and Sainsbury’s. On the 3rd October 2016 it was revealed that tests on a sample of 97 UK-produced pork products from supermarkets show that three were contaminated with the superbug strain which can cause serious health problems.