The Meat and Dairy Industries' Harmful Effect on the Environment

Tuesday October 16th 2007, 10:32 pm
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                Generally, when people express concern for the environment they point to problems such as water and air pollution, global warming, and quickly disappearing natural resources.  These categories legitimately demand attention and rightfully evoke concern, and proposed solutions range from stricter government regulations to banning the use of aerosol cans that produce CFCs. Politicians and celebrities openly support causes financially and urge the general public to follow suit by changing the ways they live their everyday lives. Everyone should turn the lights off when they leave the room, take shorter showers, and drive less often when they can walk. The organic/local foods movement finally provided an address of re-evaluating the way people eat and the effect it has on the earth. Unfortunately, even organic farming began to slide down the slippery slope of agribusiness, bending regulations and losing touch with the original cause of the movement.  

                Not so often is addressed the effects of two of the most environmentally influential industries of all: meat and dairy. Like all problems, perhaps these go left untouched because to know the harmful effects these two industries have on the surrounding natural world, and to truly wish to reverse the damage and make a difference, calls for rather dramatic changes in lifestyle,  mainly, they way people eat;  and everybody eats. Such a universal necessity and something around which every culture has customs and socializations built, people don’t like to talk about what’s wrong with the way they eat. Regardless, it’s about time someone addresses the problems caused by the way people raise livestock and other animals used to meet the demands of the general public for milk, cheese, and eggs. The meat and dairy industries account for waste hazards, contributions to global warming, massive amounts of water usage and pollution, wildlife destruction, air pollution…and the list continues. It’s almost as if all the world’s environmental issues culminate into a nice little package. By examining the harmful effects of the meat and dairy industry on the environment, one can examine all the major environmental threats at once.

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