The biggest polluter in the world is not fossil fuels, but animal husbandry. It is responsible for 51% of all greenhouse gases. It is also most responsible for deforestation, water pollution and massive species extinctions. Intensive animal husbandry is constantly expanding as the human population grows. Large biotech companies continue to use genetically modified food, pesticides and intensively cut down forests. Where is the largest meat farm? They are feedlots, officially referred to as “Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations” (CAFO) and more commonly known as factory farms.

Humans kill 200 million animals a day

After examining the numbers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, activist organization Farm Forward determined that 99% of farmed animals in the U.S. are raised on feedlots. Feedlots can be found all over the world. Every day, people kill about 200 million animals for meat, that’s 72 billion animals a year. In the United States alone, roughly 25 million animals are slaughtered every single day. An average slaughterhouse kills up to 1100 pigs every single hour.

This footage is from North Carolina, where there are more than 2,000 of these farms.

“Feedlots are a brilliant representation of how abstract our food industry has come. It’s an efficient system for extracting the maximum yield from animals. That’s the world we live in now. We want to extract the maximum yield from everything, no matter what business you are in.” (source)

100 animal and plant species die out every day due to livestock farming. The video below describes how serious the situation is. A huge number of farmed animals release large amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, especially methane. Methane is 20 times worse than carbon dioxide. Each cow releases 66-79 gallons of methane per day. There are 88 million cows in the United States alone.

The chemicals in animal waste turn feedlots into multicolored cesspools.

Mishka Henner Tascosa Feedyard (detail), Texas.

Raising large numbers of animals in a small area creates large toxic lagoons where waste is mixed with animals and fertilizers.

Mishka Henner Coronado Feeders, Dalhart, Texas.

Is there a solution?

The only solution is to significantly reduce meat consumption, as the current situation is unsustainable in the future. Unless people limit their consumption of meat, the impact on the environment will be catastrophic.

Sources & credit