The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) is fuming over a post on the EPA’s blog, “Greenversations.”
The controversial post was written by an EPA intern, Nicole Reising, who cited environmental concerns as one of the (many) reasons she chose to become a vegetarian.
Apparently, the AFBF — who said the EPA should “control their blog space” — is upset that an agency of the government would allow a completely VALID testimonial for vegetarianism on it’s blog — and even a lot of the blog’s commentors are questioning Nicole’s information. One even said her blog lacks “professionalism.”
I’m here to defend the idea that the environment is a totally legit reason to give up meat. Especially factory-farmed meat. And if Nicole’s post wasn’t “professional” enough, here are a few stats from sources most people consider pretty darn credible:
The country simply has more dung than it can handle: Crowded together at a new breed of megafarms, livestock produce three times as much waste as people, more than can be recycled as fertilizer for nearby fields.That excess manure gives off air pollutants, and it is the country’s fastest-growing large source of methane, a greenhouse gas. –The Washington Post
Livestock are one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems. Urgent action is required to remedy the situation. — Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
The environmental impact of growing so much grain for animal feed is profound. Agriculture in the United States — much of which now serves the demand for meat — contributes to nearly three-quarters of all water-quality problems in the nation’s rivers and streams, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. — The New York Times
There have been hundreds of articles and countless research done on the subject of meat vs. the environment — and an overwhelming amount of evidence shows that factory farms are a huge detriment to the health of Mama Earth. Just a week ago, millions of gallons of cow waste (read: poop!) flowed into a river in Washington when a dike couldn’t hold back the manure any longer.
Unfortunately, scenarios like this aren’t unique. And it’s not just cow poo that’s invading our environment — a Rolling Stone reporter chronicled the workings of a pig farm, and noted that, to alleviate the massive lagoons of pig feces surrounding the farm, the farmers will actually SPRAY THE POOP INTO THE AIR, onto the surrounding fields. Umm…gross! People have even died from drowning in the thick, quicksand-like lagoons of toxic pig waste sludge.
And Jonathan Safran Foer, who extensively researched both factory and family farms for his recent — and quite brilliant — book, Eating Animals, calls factory farms “radically unsustainable.” John Robbins (of the Baskin Robbins legacy) wrote in his book, Food Revolution, that although you need 5,000 gallons of water to make just 1 pound of meat, you’d need only 25 gallons for 1 pound of wheat. A meat-eating diet requires more than 4,000 gallons of water per day. But a vegetarian diet? Only 300.
Most of these statistics have to do with farming on land, yet fishing is also very environmentally destructive. A new global study found that 90 percent of the world’s large fishes have disappeared from the oceans in the past 50 years because of industrial fishing.
Folks, please consider these facts when shopping for your next meal and, for the environment and everything living in it (including humans), please adjust your eating habits accordingly before we’re all drowning in the waste of our beloved meat.
You can also read Heather Moore’s post on “Eating As If The Earth Matters”.
photo from woodleyworkswonders on Flickr