The rate of demand for animal products keeps on increasing and more specifically the need for food. For the past few decades, man has developed techniques that might ensure that produce as much food that can meet their daily needs. The current focus is on providing a massive amount of food at the cheapest cost possible. It is with this idea that factory farming has taken root in the country. It is the process of intensively farmed animals to produce meat and animal products at the cheapest cost possible.
Statistics show that in the United States there are about 9 billion chickens that are slaughtered each year for consumption. In Australia, there are approximately 1 million chickens that are killed every day for eating. The focus on chicken arises from the idea that they are among the most farmed animals on earth. From this statistics, it is evident that these animals might have a significant impact on the environment.
While it might seem like a common thing to farm animals the impact that it might have on the environment will depend on the methods of farming. The rise of factory farming raises serious concerns about the effect that it might have on the environment. One of the most significant concerns is that this kind of agriculture is poisoning the air.
The air pollution that arises from the use of factory farming methods is associated mostly with the product of methane gases. Studies have shown that about 37% of the methane gas emission comes from factory farming. Erickson (para 2) states that methane is more destructive to the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. He further argues that there is more emission of this gas by the firms. The most chilling fact is that most people do not have an understanding of the impact that these methods of farming have on to the environment. While factory farming might be helping to provide enough food the society, the effect that it has on the environment is quite more destructive.
The impact that farm animals have on the environment is an issue that needs a serious focus. Richardson (para 3) state that in the US alone animals raised in the factories generate about 1 million tons of manure per day. This production is about three times that of humans. The question that we might seek to answer is the effect that such kind of manure production might have on the environment. Typically the wastes from these animals are stored in substantial open-air lagoons that are at risk of leaks and spills. In the year 2011, a lagoon in Illinois spilled gallons of animal waste into a creek, and this resulted in the death of about 110,000 fish. Such an example reflects on the seriousness of the factory methods to the environment.
Unfortunately, the idea of producing more food to feed the population is turning out to be the greatest disaster for our environment. Richardson (para 2) also states that today most farms often opt to dispose of the excess manure in ways that are too dangerous for the environment. The approaches that most farmers use often focuses on apply fertilizer to the surrounding rather than to transport it off the site. The SDA argues that animal waste can lead to the contamination of water supplies besides omitting dangerous gases to the environment is they are over applied to the land. This seems to be the situation that the environment is currently experiencing.
Another significant risk that the environment might suffer as a result of the use of these farms to produce food is the contamination of plants and the drinking water. Due to the filthy conditions that these animals are subjected to in the farms, the farmer often opts to use antibiotics to control the spread of disease. However, for little states unfortunately, 75 percent of the medicines are not digested and will end up in the manure. When the slurry is deposited on land, it might be taken up by plants or drain into the drinking water. Ultimately it would end up being ingested by humans. From this view then these farms are at a severe threat to the human health. While the focus of the firms might be on the production of enough food for the people, it is unattainable. There is a need to think if society can trade the idea of food production with environmental impacts.
Besides, the rise of these farms has led to the severe challenge of deforestation. There is a high demand for livestock pasture that is leading to a higher rate of deforestation. The issue of deforestation became a big problem in the 20th century. Similarly, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States mentions that about 70% of the land that was formerly under the Amazon forest has now been converted for grazing (Koneswaran, and Danielle para 3). The challenge that is posed by the increase in deforestation is the reduction of the carbon filter. The forest acts as a carbon filter. Bahr argues that the decrease in the forest cover tends to put the environment at higher risk not at this moment but even for the future. There is thus the need to rethink of the approaches that these farms are putting to the environment. There might be so much benefit in regards to the production of food at a cheaper cost, but this does not negate the fact that we are risking of having an environment that is suffering from global warming.
Another severe impact that the environment is experiencing as a result of the farms is the damage to the water supply. In supplying the food for the animals, there is the need to farm crops that the animals feed on. The plants often need water for irrigation; there is also a need for water for the animals to drink. Besides, there is water that required for the cleaning of the filth from the farms and the transportation of the trucks. Furthermore, there is water needed in the slaughterhouses. Mercola (para 4) states that the farming industry has a massive demand for water and eventually leading to a serious impact on the water supply. It is estimated that producing one pound of beef might take about 1,582 gallons of water this is more than what an American uses in the shower. This impact on the source of water is a serious concern that society should not just overlook. A closer analysis of this issue might be the next thing that the cost should consider.
On the contrary, there are those that have argued that factory farming required less land than the pasteurized farming and thus its impact is less. The space needed for factory farming per animal is less than the area required for the pasteurized option. For an animal to get everything that requires then the space required might be so much that compared to when the food is brought to it. Therefore factory animals are space efficient than the other models. Thus, there are those that might seek only to seek to look at the aspect of the impact that the factory setting is having on the environment due to the concertation of the animals, but the reality is that the other animals might be even at more severe threat. Their demand for huge land for grazing is the cause for the depreciation of the Amazon (Koneswaran, and Danielle Nierenberg). Therefore, as much as people might argue that the approach of factory farming is of a threat to society, the opposite might still be true.
Hannah's argument has been presented on the issue of factory animal, and the pasteurized animals are that the heated animals are not necessarily healthy or happy. The evidence that most of the pro-pasteurized animals have always presented is that the animals in these factories are too squeezed, and they are in a terrible condition that subjects them to too much stress. It is such condition that often leads to the owners to continually inject the animals with various drugs to ensure that the stay healthy. On the other hand, the posturized are entirely free and thus healthy. However, the anti-pasteurized animals often counter this argument but arguing that the pasteurized animals also stay in conditions where the pasture is not high enough, or the quality is not elevated to be able to nourish the animals. There are also cases where these animals are too uncomfortable and abused. The idea that these animals are fed on grass does not mean that they are living in comfortable conditions is false.
It is quite evident that the factories are helping to provide enough food for people in society. However, there is enough evidence that shows that this is coming at a high environmental cost. The farms are leading to a severe impact on the quality of water. The author indicates that the water required to take care of these animals is quite high and is lead to a serious strain to the water sources. Besides, it has emerged that the waste from these animals produced methane gas that a severe impact on the environment than even the carbon dioxide. The other problem that seems to develop as a result of the farms is the contamination of the drinking water. The high antibiotics that are used in the treatment of the animals are not often digested, and they find their ways into the drinking water and even the food that people eat. Therefore, this leads to strong concern for the animals. As the demand for food increases, there is a possibility that people are focusing their effort on products that might be of serious impact on the environment. There is the need to look for ways to that are sustainable. The focus of the environmentalist in this generation is not only in looking for ways to do things but to look for sustainability. Therefore, there is need rethink on the viability of the production methods that are in use today.
The authors have provided several cases that reflect on the seriousness of the issue. Bahr has shown the impact that the environment might suffer from the factory setting a claim that Erickson has also supported. Hannah also offers the same view on the issue by arguing that the water resource might be at the most significant risk, an idea that Mercola also supports. It is then clear that the environment is under a severe attack from these methods of farming.
Bahr, Jazmine. "The Environmental Impacts Of Factory Farming." Nested Naturals. N.p., 30 June 2016. Web. 12 Dec. 2018.
Erickson, Britt E. "Livestock Emissions Still Up in the Air." Chemical & Engineering News. N.p., 2 Apr. 2018. Web. 12 Dec. 2018.
Hannah. "Pros of Factory Farming: Are There Any?" Ethical Farming Fund. N.p., 29 Aug. 2015. Web. 12 Dec. 2018.
Little, Amanda. "Factory Farms Let off the Hook for Water Pollution, Activists Say." Grist. N.p., 1 July 2016. Web. 12 Dec. 2018.
Koneswaran, Gowri, and Danielle Nierenberg. "Global farm animal production and global warming: impacting and mitigating climate change." Environmental Health Perspectives 116.5 (2008): 578
Mercola, Dr. "How Factory Farms Destroy Drinking Water Worldwide." Mercola.com. N.p., 27 Jan. 2017. Web. 12 Dec. 2018.
Richardson, Jill. "Factory Farms Produce 100 Times More Waste Than All People In the US Combined, and It's Killing Our Drinking Water." Alternet. N.p., 23 May 2011. Web. 12 Dec. 2018.
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