Archive for the Meat's Not Green Category

Meat’s Not Green: Water

Posted in Health, Industrialized Farming, Meat's Not Green, Water on August 4, 2009 by Powered By Produce

Nearly half of the water used in the U.S. is squandered on animal agriculture. Between watering the crops grown to feed farm animals, providing drinking water for billions of animals each year, and cleaning the filthy factory farms, transport trucks, and slaughterhouses, the farmed animal industry places a serious strain on our water supply. According to a special report in Newsweek, “The water that goes into a 1,000-pound steer would float a destroyer.” It takes more than 4,000 gallons of water per day to produce a meat-based diet, but only 300 gallons of water a day are needed to produce a vegetarian diet.

Besides just wasting water, factory farms also pollute it. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, animal factories pollute our waterways more than all other industrial sources combined. The major sources of pollution are from antibiotics and hormones, chemicals from tanneries, fertilizers and pesticides used for feedcrops, sediments from eroded pastures, and animal wastes.

Cows, pigs, chickens, and other animals raised for food produce approximately 130 times as much excrement as the entire human population, except there are no sewage systems to dispose of the waste from factory farms. Much of the millions of pounds of excrement and other bodily waste produced by farmed animals every day in the U.S. is stored in sprawling brown lagoons.


These lagoons often spill over into surrounding waterways and cause massive destruction. In 1995, 25 million gallons of putrid hog urine and feces spilled into a North Carolina river, killing 10-14 million fish. This spill was twice as large in volume as the Exxon-Valdez oil disaster. But, it doesn’t take a spill of this magnitude to wreak havoc on the ecosystem. In West Virginia and Maryland, for example, scientists have recently discovered that male fish are growing ovaries, and they suspect that this freakish deformity is the result of factory-farm run-off from drug-laden chicken feces.

Besides the environmental problems caused by farmed animal waste, the dangerous fecal bacteria from farm sewage (including E. coli) can also cause serious illness in humans.

A Scripps Howard synopsis of a Senate Agricultural Committee report on farm pollution issued this warning about animal waste: “…it’s untreated and unsanitary, bubbling with chemicals and diseased… It goes onto the soil and into the water that many people will, ultimately, bathe in and wash their clothes with, and drink. It is poisoning rivers and killing fish and making people sick…Catastrophic cases of pollution, sickness, and death are occurring in areas where livestock operations are concentrated… Every place where the animal factories have located, neighbors have complained of falling sick.”

The EPA reports that chicken, hog, and cattle excrement have polluted 35,000 miles of rivers in 22 states and contaminated groundwater in 17 states yet, amazingly, the federal government continues to allow factory farms to use our rivers as sewers.
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Breakfast: Whole wheat bagel
Lunch: Mango “chicken” (soy chicken subsitute) from Chinese/Thai fusion restaurant
Dinner: Veggie burger

Meat’s Not Green

Posted in Meat's Not Green on June 12, 2009 by Powered By Produce

To most people, “going green” means recycling, switching to energy-efficient light bulbs, using cloth grocery bags, and carpooling. What most people don’t know is that eating vegetarian is just about the greenest thing you can do.

The Live Earth Global Warming Survival Handbook states that “refusing meat” is “the single most effective thing you can do to reduce your carbon footprint.” Researchers at the University of Chicago found that going vegan is more effective in countering climate change than switching from a standard American car to a Toyota Prius.

A 2006 United Nations report summarized the devastation caused by the meat industry by calling it “one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global.” The report revealed that the “livestock sector” generates more greenhouse gas emissions than all the cars, trucks, trains, ships, and planes in the world combined.

The livestock sector is one of the largest sources of carbon dioxide and the single largest source of both methane and nitrous oxide emissions. Nitrous oxide is considerably more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. According to the U.N., the meat, egg, and dairy industries account for a staggering 65% of nitrous oxide emissions.

Environmental Defense estimates that, “If every American had one meat-free meal per week, it would be the same as taking more than 5 million cars off our roads. Having one meat-free day per week would be the same as taking 8 million cars off American roads.”

Just like the rest of the green initiative, every little bit helps! Consider something like a Meatless Monday to help our environment (and your health, and the animals).

Future posts coming about the destruction the meat industry causes to our air, land, and sea.
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Breakfast: Strawberries
Lunch: Salad bar at Harris Teeter
Dinner: Tacos with soy chorizo (best item ever sold at Trader Joe’s!), cilantro, soy cheese, salsa verde, and delicious tortillas from San Antonio