ProductsThe that produce them.There is severe environmental
ProductsThe Environmental Impact of Eating Beef and Dairy ProductsThere are currently 1.
28 billion cattle populating theearth. They occupy nearly 24 percent of the landmass of the planet. Theircombined weight exceeds that of the earth’s entire human population. Raisingcows for beef has been linked to several environmental problems, and eating beefcan worsen your health. The Dairy Industry puts not only your health in dangerfrom consuming their products, but the lives of the cows that produce them.There is severe environmental damage brought on bycattle ranching, including the destruction of rainforests and grasslands.
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Since1960 more than 25 percent of Central America’s forests have been cleared tocreate pastureland for grazing cattle. By the late 1970’s two-thirds of allagricultural land in Central America was occupied by cattle and other livestock.More than half the rual families in Central America-35 million people-are nowlandless or own too litle land to support themselves. Cattle are also a majorcause of desertification around the planet.
Today about 1.3 billion cattle aretrampling and stripping much of the vegetative cover from the earth’s remaininggrasslands. Each animal eats its way through 900 pounds of vegetation a month.
Without plants to anchor the soil, absorb the water, and recycle the nutrients,the land has become increasingly vulnerable to wind and water erosion. Morethan 60 percent of the world’s rangeland has been damaged by overgrazing duringthe past half century.Cattle ranching has also been linked to Global Warming.The grain-fed-cattle complex is now a significant factor in the emission ofthree of the gases that cause the greenhouse effect- methane, carbon dioxide,and nitrous oxides- and is likely to play an even larger role in Global Warmingin the coming decades. The burning of fossil fuels accounted for nearly two-thirds of the 815 billion tons of carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere in 1987.The other third came from the increased burning of the forests and grasslands.
When the trees are cleared and burned to make room for cattle pastures, theyemit a massive volume of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Commercial cattleranching also contributes to Global Warming in other ways. With 70 percent ofall U. S. grain production now devoted to livestock feed, much of ot for cattle,the energy burned by farm machinery and transport vehicles just to produce andship the feed represents a significant addition to carbon dioxide emissions. Itnow takes the equivalent of a gallon of gasoline to produce a pound of grain-fedbeef in the United States. To sustain the yearly beef requirements of anaverage family of four requires the use of more than 260 gallons of fossil fuel.
Finally; Nitrous Oxide, which accounts for 6 percent of the global warmingeffect, is released from fertilizer used in growing the feed; and methane, whichmakes up 18 percent, is emitted from the cattle.The final victims of the world cattle complex are theanimals themselves. Immediately after birth, male calves are castrated to makethem more “docile”, and to improve the quality of their meat. To ensure thatthe animals will not injure each other, they are dehorned with a chemical pastethat burns out their horns’ roots.
Neither of these procedures is done withanesthesia.There are about 42,000 feedlots in 13 major cattle-feeding states in the United states. The feedlot is generaly a fenced-in areawith a concrete feed trough along one side. In many of the larger feedlots,thousands of cattle are crowded together side by side in severely crampedquarters. To obtain the optimum weight gain in the minimum time, feedlotmanagers administer a variety of pharmaceuticals to their cattle, includinggrowth-stimulating hormones and feed additives. Anabolic steroids, in the formof small time-release pellets, are implanted in the animals’ ears. cattle aregiven estradiol, testosterone, and progesterone.
The hormones stimulate thecells to produce additional protein, adding muscle and fat tissue more rapidly.Today 80 percent of all the herbicides used in the United States are sprayed oncorn and soybeans. After being consumed by the cattle, these herbicidesaccumulate in their bodies and are passed along to the consumer in finished cutsof beef. beef now ranks number one in herbicide contamination and number two inoverall pesticide contamination. Some feedlots now expiriment with addingcardboard, newspapers, and sawdust to the feed to reduce costs. Other factoryfarms scrape up the manure from chicken houses and pigpens and add it directlyto cattle feed.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials say that it is notuncommon for some feedlot operators to mix industrial sewage and oils into thefeed to reduce costs and fatten animals more quickly.Moving beyond beef in our daily diets is a personaldecision, but one that has profound and far-reaching consequences. Millions ofAmericans and Europeans are making personal choices to move beyond beef, or atleast to cut down their consumption, and this will have a significant impact onthe future of our planet and humanity.Beef consumption in the United Stateshas dropped markedly in the past 20 years, from 83 pounds per person per year in1975 to less than 68 pounds per person per year in 1990.Today’s dairy cow has been bred to be a milk machine,producing an average of 15,557 pounds of milk a year, almost 40 percent morethan her counterpart of just 16 years ago. while the undomesticated cowproduced enough milk to feed her one or two calves, a dairy cow in a moderndairy farm produces about twenty times more milk than her calf needs.
Excessiveproduction demands, coupled with the trend toward confining cows indoors or indensely populated drylots (enclosures devoid of grass), have resulted in seriouswelfare and disease problems for the dairy cow.The modern dairy cow is usually artifically inseminated,pumped full of hormones and growth stimulants, and super-ovulated so she canchurn out more calves, faster and faster. Cows are fed a diet geared towardhigh production. This diet, which is heavy in grain, is fed to species whosedigestive track is suited to roughages. High-production diets create manyhealth problems, including severe metabolic disorders and painful lameness,which are compounded by confinement. Also, at any given time, half of U.S.
dairy cattle have mastitis (a painful udder inflamation, usually caused byinfection).Today’s cow is typically burned out (unable to keep upproduction) and sent to slaughter, for human consumption and other uses, at anaverage age of four years. Her natural life span would be from twenty totwenty-five years.A recent analysis by the FDA found that meat from dairycows and their calves was the source of 60 percent of those drug and otherchemical residues found in edible meats in ammounts that violated allowablelimits (Dairy cows are the source for the majority of processed beef and 26percent of hamburger in the United States ). The government’s ability to ensurea safe milk supply has also come into question.Despite a dairy product surplus and with cows alreadypushed to their limits, recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH), a geneticallyengineered drug injected into dairy cows to increase milk production, has beenapproved for use by American dairy farmers. Embryo transfer, cloning, thecreation of transgenic cows, and the engineering of cows to secretepharmaceuticals and other substances in their milk are also under way.
Another practice growing in popularity is tail docking,the removal of about two-thirds of an adult dairy cow’s tail- without use of ananesthetic. This procedure, the rationale for which is that it keeps cowscleaner, is completely unnecessary. It also deprives the cow of her naturalmeans of swatting flies.Newborn dairy calves are typically taken from theirmothers at birth of shortly thereafter. Some female calves are kept asreplacements for cows in the dairy herd.
The other calves are sent to slaughteras babies, to veal farms, or to be raised for beef. Many are sent to stockyardswhen only one or two days old, even before they can walk. Calves in thesale/slaughter pipeline are often transported long distances, subjected to roughhandling, and exposed to numerous diseases and weather extremes. They may begiven no opportunity to rest or eat.
Calves destined to be slaughtered atsixteen weeks old for “milk-fed” veal spend their lives in crates so narrow thatthey are unable even to turn around. Denied water and solid food, they are feda diet consisting solely of an intentionally iron-deficient milk replacement,often containing antibiotics, which they typically lap up from a bucket twice aday. Veal is a by-product of the dairy industry that owes its existance to thesurplus calves delivered by ten million dairy cows every year.
Veal consumption has decreased from its peak of 3.5pounds per capita to under one pound per capita in 1993, owing in large part tothe public’s refusal to purchase inhumanely produced products such as milk-fedveal.Another by-product of the dairy industry is the downedanimal- an animal who is too weak, ill, or injured to stand or walk withoutassistance. Burned-out dairy cows and newborn calves make up a large percentageof downed animals, who often suffer from brutal treatment at livestock markets.Baby calves that cannot walk are often dragged or thrown and are trampled byother animals. Downed dairy cows are painfully dragged off trucks and acrossstockyards by chains or ropes tied around one leg.
Both downed calves and cowsare shocked with electric prods, kicked, and beaten during the transport andauction process in futile attempts to get them to move on their own. They areoften left without food, water, or veterinary care, sometimes for days at a time,untill they either die or are loaded onto trucks yet again for a trip toslaughter. as many as 90 percent of downed animals could be prevented by simpleimprovements in management, handling, and transportation practices, includingkeeping newborn calves on the farm of their birth for a minimum of five daysbefore sending them to market.There are many health problems linked with eating beefand dairy products. Harvard scientists found that women who had beef, lamb, orpork as a daily main dish ran two and a half the risk of developing colon canceras did those who ate the meats less than once a month.
The conclusions aredrawn from a study of 88,751 nurses that was begun in 1980. Eating beef hasalso been linked to heart disease, high blood pressure, and strokes. Drinkingmilk has been linked to asthma, allergies, intestinal bleeding, and juvenilediabetes. Cutting dairy products out of your diet gives you a greater chance ofavoiding bronchial, respiratory, and stomach problems.
Eating Beef, as well as dairy products, has an extremeimpact on the environment. Raising cows for beef has been linked to severalenvironmental problems, such as Global Warming, and eating beef can worsen yourhealth. The dairy industry puts not only your health in danger from consumingdairy products, but that of the cows who make them as well.