Environmental impacts of animal farming spark continued controversy

Posted on the 2nd September 2014

New research published by Cambridge and Aberdeen universities has provided further evidence of the massive and growing environmental impacts of farming animals for food, sparking more debate on the issue.

The new report states that worldwide greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture will increase by 80 per cent if the current trend towards higher global meat and dairy consumption continues. The growth in animal farming required to meet this demand will necessitate more forest and arable land being turned over to producing animal feed. Deforestation will result in the release of huge quantities of carbon dioxide, whilst the growing number of farmed animals themselves will produce ever-increasing amounts of methane – a highly potent greenhouse gas.

The environmental impacts of animal farming have been known about for some time. Numerous reports on the issue have been published by world-leading organisations, and headlines about calls to reduce meat consumption to protect the planet are a frequent occurrence. Only two weeks ago the BBC broadcast a Horizon documentary about this very issue. Yet it continues to spark controversy.

Already columnists, such as Richard Littlejohn of the Daily Mail, have criticised this latest report, defending their inferred ‘right’ to eat meat, whilst debate rages in the comment sections of various newspapers. But the fact remains that animal farming is causing significant harm to our environment and this will increase unless we curb our consumption of animal products.

If you want to cut back on meat, eggs and dairy – or eliminate them altogether from your diet – please consider taking part in our Great Vegan Challenge this November. It will not only benefit the environment, but also your health and farmed animals themselves.

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