The Meat and Dairy Industries' Harmful Effect on the Environment


Vegan for a Week…NOT! Vegetarian for a week.
Monday December 03rd 2007, 9:53 pm
Filed under: Michelle research,Presentation

So my group decided that Alex and I should be vegans for a week, just so we could see what it was like…however, I dropped being vegan after less than 24 hours (23 hours to be exact), and I became a vegetarian for a week. This is my journal about the experience.

Day 1:

I was enthusiastic about becoming a vegan for a week. I thought it wouldn’t be so bad…but then I went to dinner. At Seacobecck, I grabbed a salad, an apple, and pita bread with hummus (which I’ve never had before). I also grabbed a piece of white bread: but I realized it was made with eggs. So that was rather dissapointing, and I threw it out. Sarah and Melissa suggested that I try the hummus. Well, I found it absolutely disgusting. I can’t eat any more of that stuff!

So less than a half hour after eating dinner, I was hungry. I thought about cheating, but I didn’t. Hopefully tomorrow I will get vegan stuff at the grocery store. I e-mailed my mom and told her what I was going to do…she’ll probably not believe me.

Day 2:

Breakfast was okay. I had applesauce, pineapples, and a banana with two glasses of water. I was hungry in an hour.

Lunch: I had a salad with vegtable oil, pita bread, and three bananas. My stomach felt really upset.

4:00: I gave up and ate a Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Nugget. Make that 8 milk chocolate nuggets. I was hungry, and that was what was in my room! However, I can still be a vegetarian fo a week! I think I can do that…

Dinner: So I decided to start eating more things again. So, I had the white bread with butter, a salad, a banana, potatos, and pasta with tomato sauce. I did not feel hungry after that for 2 hours, so it was much better for me.

Day 3:

My mom e-mailed me and told me not to try the vegan diet…so I responded that I had already given up, and I will try vegetarian.

Breakfast: I had no breakfast because I had an 8:00 weight training class. 

Lunch: 2 slices of White cheese pizza, french fries, water, and a banana. The white pizza was actually kind of disgusting today, because they had some sort of alfredo sauce that tasted kind of sour.

Dinner: I had some salad, Captain Crunch cereal, a banana, water and diet pepsi (since I needed some caffine to study).

Day 4:

Breakfast: I had blueberry crumb cake, breakfast potatoes, a banana, and water. It was delicious.

Lunch: French Fries, a banana, 2 grilled cheese sandwiches, cheesy pasta, water, and some kool-aid.

Dinner: There wasn’t much selection at Seacobeck on Friday night, but I had some sort of strange pasta, Captain Crunch with no milk (since they ran out), roasted potatoes, steamed carrots, and water. It was okay.

Day 5:

Brunch: I woke up at 11:00, so I got brunch. I had yummy french toast sticks with syrup, scrambled eggs, crumb cake of some sort, and breakfast potatoes. I found out the breakfast potatoes actually taste good with the syrup.

Dinner: I went to the Eagles Nest for dinner, so I grabbed french fries, a banana, and a cookie. Ha ha, quite healthy, eh? I also got a diet pepsi.

Day 5:

Brunch: Yet again, I woke up at 11:00. So, I had yummy Sunday brunch. So I got pancakes with syrup, breakfast potatoes (in the syrup), a blueberry scone, and some sort of chocolate cake from the ‘special’ dessert table.

Dinner: Eagles Nest again! But only because Seacobeck had amazingly long lines for a Sunday night, and from previous experience, they usually run out of good stuff. So, I got another banana, some sort of vanilla custard, and some fritos. Oh, and another Diet Pepsi. I actually HATE Diet Pepsi…I prefer coke products, or Diet Mountain Dew, but since we have pepsi, I got Diet Pepsi.

Day 6:

Breakfast: I got blueberry crumb cake, a banana, and french toast with syrup. Oh, and water.

Lunch: A banana, potatoes, a ton of noodles with tomato sauce, and spice cake. The spice cake is delicious, and I love the cream-cheese icing! Yum!

Dinner: Ha, ha…another banana, swirly ice cream, water, grape kool-aid, carrots, and some form of birthday cake.

Day 7: Is today, so I can tell you about it in class today. 🙂 After this class, I can finally have meat again! Ironically, I don’t really crave meat, except pepperoni pizzas. I have lost my taste for the Seaco-cheeseburgers. I will probably start eating them again, just because they’re a source of protein.

What have I learned? Well, for one thing, I realized that I love bananas way too MUCH! I have bananas at every meal. I wonder why I like them so much…oh well. I also realized that I can live without protein for a week…I can’t remember having any protein this week, considring I hate beans…unless there’s some protein in some cheese. This is probably not good for my health. Ha ha. I also realized that I eat much unhealthier than normal when I don’t eat meat…I guess it is because I crave so much horrible food.

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Short Factory Farming Video
Monday December 03rd 2007, 7:49 pm
Filed under: Michelle research

This is a short video about factory farming made by the Humane Society.

Picture from www.freewebs.com

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=7749834519757442460&q=factory+farms&total=637&start=0&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=2

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Michelle’s Oral Presentation
Saturday December 01st 2007, 2:24 pm
Filed under: Michelle research,Presentation

For my part of the project, I mainly used the internet for research. However, some of the information I used in this project was from my AP Environmental Science class I took last year.

For the most part, the internet research led me to mainly newspaper or magazine articles. I found out that the beef and dairy industry negatively affects many aspects of the environment.           

 First of all, it can affect global climate change. The livestock sector is responsible for between 9-20% of carbon dioxide gas emissions. Agriculture adds carbon dioxide to the atmosphere though burning biomass by deforestation; cutting down forests to make room for grazing pastures and crop growing. The fossil fuel usage to produce fertilizer to grow feed to produce meat and to transport the meat adds to the carbon dioxide emissions. Livestock are also producing up to one-third of the methane gas emissions, which can warm the world twenty times faster than carbon dioxide. Scientist also found that livestock are responsible for 64% of ammonia emissions, which can also lead to acid rain and acidification of ecosystems.           

This leads to the problem of water pollution, acidification, and eutrophication. To expand on the ammonia’s effect on water, basically after it turns into acid rain, it rains into ponds, lakes, streams, etc. This large amount of ammonia can lower the pH level of the water to make it more acidic, which can cause deformities in, or kills off fish, amphibians, and other wildlife in the water. [Bring up frog article and pictures on blog] One article in particular I found interesting was about how frog deformities are lined to farm pollution. This is caused from a mixture of the pH lowering and from eutrophication. Eutrophication is when water is enriched with nutrients such as phosphates and nitrates, which can boost plant growth in the later. It mainly contributes to the growth of algae and sea grasses. The problem with this is that the plants take up more of the water’s dissolved oxygen percentage, leaving less for the fish and amphibians, which can make them outrageously deformed, or by suffocating them from lack of oxygen. And what contributes the extra nitrates and phosphates into the water system? The fertilizer and manure runoff from livestock farms. Pesticides that are used on the plants to make the cattle feed are also filled with the nutrients than can runoff the land and cause eutrophication. Eutrophication is also the cause of the “dead” zones in coastal areas, such as the Gulf of Mexico. The major sources of water pollution are from animal wastes, antibiotics and hormones used on the livestock, chemicals from tanneries, fertilizers and pesticides for feed crops, and sediments from eroded pastures.

            There are many interconnected environmental degradation cycles that occur from livestock production. [Bring up the diagrams and my little article about this on the blog]. It is easiest showing this in a flow chart, however it will not show up on the blog, so I will probably just show it in class.

            The livestock industry is also causing increasing water shortages around the country and the world. In America, it takes approximately 990 liters of water to produce one liter of milk. This is completely outrageous! It takes millions of gallons of water to quench cows’ thirst, to water the crops for the cows, and for the production of milk and other animal products. So in many rural areas, there is not enough water for the townspeople to use, because they are using so much for their livestock. They have to use water only at certain times of the day, and reduce personal water usage.           

Another major environmental and health concern is the amount of diseases livestock can spread to other animals, either waterborne, foodborne, or bacterial. There are at least 40 different types of diseases that can be transferred to humans through animal manure. Various livestock have been known to cause E. coli, Salmonella, C. jejuni (a.k.a. Campylobacter), Cryptosporidium parvum, Giardia duodenalis (a.k.a. Giardiasis), and pfiesteria piscidia. Many of these diseases and bacteria can sicken and kill other creatures, including fish, amphibians, and small mammals.             

That was the extent of my research: climate change, water pollution and shortages, diseases, eutrophication, salinization, and erosion.

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Salinization, Erosion, and Eutrophication
Sunday November 25th 2007, 5:13 pm
Filed under: Michelle research

By: Michelle 

This is a simple explanation of salinization, erosion, and eutrophication, which can all be caused by the agriculture industry in some form or way.

Salinization happens when there is a high concentration of salts in the soil. If there is too much salt in the soil, it can be toxic to plants, which can wither and die, or the plants can not grow at all. At mass-producing farms, all of the wastes from the animals contain a high level of phosphates and nitrates, which are natural salts. If the wastes are just disposed into a giant pile in the corner of a field (which they often are), the salts seep into the soil, and kills the grasses in the area.

 Usually with salinization comes erosion. Salinization can kill key plants and grasses which are used to hold the soil together. If the soil isn’t held together, then it can easily erode into streams and ponds. If the soil has a high concentration of nitrates and phosphates, then it can kill fish and cause eutrophication: the increase of chemical nutrients that can spur plant growth. Usually eutrophication causes algae blooms, or water grasses to grow. When there is a large amount of algae or plants in the water, it takes oxygen out of the water, and releases carbon dioxide into the water. When there is less oxygen in the water, fish can die (if they were not already dead by the high concentration of salts).

So extremely simplified: Salinization can lead to erosion which can lead to eutrophication.

Here are some diagrams that demonstrates many of the origins of erosion and eutrophication:

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General Information About Our Topic
Tuesday November 20th 2007, 11:22 am
Filed under: Michelle research

By: Michelle 

Basically, our issue that we researched is about the negative effects of agriculture on the environment. So here is some basic information about the environmental degredation from agribusiness.

  • Agriculture increases CO2 levels in the atmosphere from the burning of plants and destruction of plant life to convert forests into fields
  • “Agriculture causes harmful levels of pathogens and chemicals in our water and increases levls of greenhouse gases in the air as a result of agriculture”
  • Waterbourne diseases can be found in water systems near animal farms, including Salmonella typhimurium, Cryptospordium parvum, and Giardia duodenalis
  • Harmful bacteria can also be found in food and water near the animal farms including C. jejuni, Campylobacter, Salmonella, and E. Coli
  • Animals from farms can cause overgrazing of the grass, which leads to erosion and salinization
  • Erosion and salinization of the land can lead to the eutrophication of water by adding too much nitrates and phosphates to the water
  • Animal wastes cause a salinity problem due to the large amount of salt in the feces. Each cow defecates about 100 pounds of feces per day (84 pounds of wet, 16 of dry), which contain a lot of nitrates, which can harm the soil or can drain into water systems
  • Cows produce 20% of the methane gas that goes into the atmosphere
  • Animal farms indirectly cause acid rain, because they produce over 100 types of pollutiong gases, and 2/3rds of the amount of ammonia that goes into the atmosphere
  • Agriculture uses up to 80% of the water usage in the United States, which can cause water shortages in many parts of the country

**Most of the information contained in this is from other sources, which can be found in the Works Cited on this blog, which will be made soon***

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Frog Deformities
Wednesday November 14th 2007, 12:52 am
Filed under: Michelle research

By: Michelle

 

Here is an interesting article about how frogs and amphibians are affected by farm pollution. Their skin is permeable because they live and spend a lot of time in the water, in which they usually can absorb chemicals that drained into the water source.

http://environment.newscientist.com/article/dn12687-frog-deformities-linked-to-farm-pollution.html

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‘And on This Farm’ mini-documentaries
Wednesday November 14th 2007, 12:46 am
Filed under: Michelle research

By: Michelle 

So here are a couple of videos in a series callled “And On This Farm” part 1 and 2 that show the negative effects of the farm industry on the environment. They are both very relevent to this topic, however they are politically biased in a sense:

And on this farm Part 1:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2276131697824266883&q=farm+pollution+environment&total=31&start=0&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=3

And on this farm Part 2:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-538503528802425744&q=farm+pollution+environment&total=31&start=0&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=5

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