Some of our shoes are animal friendly. It means that no animal products have been used to manufacture the shoe. This is not only good news for the animals but also for our global environment. The fact that animal cruelty and ethical reservations are related to industrialized meat plants is a well-known reality. But did you know how big impact the domesticated animal industry has on our environment?
According to the report Livestock in a Changing Landscape* meat industry has a significant impact on global warming. Livestock production accounts for 18 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, including 9 percent of carbon dioxide and 37 percent of methane gas emissions worldwide.
More than two-thirds of all agricultural land is devoted to growing feed for livestock, while only 8 percent is used to grow food for direct human consumption. If the entire world population were to consume as much meat as the Western world does-176 pounds of meat per capita per year- the global land required would be two-thirds more than what is presently used.
LEAD researchers** also found that the global livestock industry uses dwindling supplies of freshwater, destroys forests and grasslands, and causes soil erosion, while pollution and the runoff of fertilizer and animal waste create dead zones in coastal areas and smother coral reefs. There also is concern over increased antibiotic resistance, since livestock accounts for 50 percent of antibiotic use globally, according to LEAD.
This unfortunately means that our domesticated animal industry is endangering the global environment, our health and access of clean drinking water in the nearby future. Our humble conclusion and individual strategy is to eat a lot less meat - if at all - and to promote consciousness and local, environmentally friendly options thru our consumption.
* Livestock in a Changing Landscape is a collaboration of the FAO, SHL, Woods Institute for the Environment, International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), Scientific Committee for Problems of the Environment (SCOPE), Agricultural Research Center for International Development (CIRAD), and Livestock, Environment and Development Initiative (LEAD).
Other editors of the report are Laurie E. Neville (Stanford University), Pierre Gerber (FAO), Jeroen Dijkman (FAO), Shirley Tarawali (ILRI) and Cees de Haan (World Bank).
** Livestock, Environment and Development: The LEAD (Livestock, Environment and Development) initiative is an inter-institutional consortium with the secretariat located within FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations). The work of the initiative targets the protection and enhancement of natural resources affected by livestock production while at the same time alleviating poverty.