Jun 262020
Meat Industry and the Environment
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Welcome to my 'Meat Industry and the Environment' post!

First of all, I must congratulate you for taking the time to do your research on this topic of green living. Over the past few years, the topic of organic food has reached headlines numerous times. As consumers, we now eat more meat than ever before and this is impacting our environment.

Is it the industry that is causing this harm? Can we find a sustainable solution? Here you will find a list of reasons to turn to buy organic meat and how to cut down your carbon footprint and consumption of meat. 

As a qualified teacher, I am passionate about education and the impact it can have on bettering our future. It is down to us individuals to do our research and make small changes to the way we live our lives. 

These small changes are easy to make and can have a big impact on our health, the health of our family and our environment. This website is designed for everyday people looking to make these changes. Here you will learn a legitimate way to go green. 

Let me be completely transparent with you, I am not here to pitch or sell anything to you. I am here to reveal and to assist you on your journey of going green! 

The Meat Industry Today...

There are a variety of different agricultural practices employed around the world and each method will have a different impact on the environment. All agricultural practices are found to have a variety of effects on the environment.

A number of the environmental effects that are related to meat production are pollution through fuel usage, animal methane, effluent waste, and water and land consumption. We source our meat in a variety of different ways; including organic farming, free-range farming, intensive livestock production, subsistence agriculture, hunting, and fishing.

Overuse of Antibiotics...

The mainstream farming industry tends to confine animals for their entire life, from birth to butcher. These animals produce more stress hormones that can remain in their bodies after butchering and these could cause adverse effects in humans.

Living in these circumstances also promotes the risk of sickness from bacterial infections which could kill the animal and/or spread to the other animals. To prevent sickness from occurring, these animals are regularly dosed with antibiotics. These antibiotics reside in the animal's body for the rest f their lives.

Hazardous for Human Health...

When we buy and eat this meat, the antibiotics travel into our bodies. Antibiotics are an incredible invention. They have saved millions of people from dying from a huge variety of bacterial infections.

However, in recent years it has become more and more transparent that we are overusing medication and this poses risks to our health. The overuse of antibiotics is causing some bacteria to become resistant to them, e.g. staph and salmonella.

We, as a society, tend to over-use antibiotics. We head straight to urgent care at the first sign of a runny nose or sore throat. We pop these pills like kids do candy and this is where the main problem lies.

When we combine this while obtaining antibiotics from the meat products that we eat, we create an environment where bacteria can become resistant or even immune to antibiotics. Some alternative research suggests that antibiotics can completely obliterate the bacteria in your body; the good and the bad.

It takes years for these healthy bacteria to re-establish themselves again. Having high levels of unhealthy bacteria encourages our body to eat unhealthy foods which in turn leads to health problems such as weight gain, diabetes, obesity, and heart attacks to name a few.

Also, these farmers are often allowed to use growth hormones and other chemicals on their herds. These chemicals are passed onto humans during consumption and can have negative impacts on our health such as early puberty.

Bacteria

Environmental Consequences...

If something is bad for our health it is too bad for our environment and vice versa. There is a natural balance to be maintained between human activity and the environment​​​. 

Meat is taken into account one among the prime factors contributing to the present sixth mass extinction. It was found during the 2019 IPBES Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services that industrial agriculture and overfishing are the first drivers of the extinction crisis, with the meat and dairy industries having a considerable impact on.

A report released by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in 2006, states that the livestock sector may be a major stressor on many ecosystems and the earth as an entire.

Globally it's one among the most important sources of greenhouse gases (GHG) and one among the leading causal factors within the loss of biodiversity, and in developed and emerging countries it's perhaps the leading source of pollution. A 2017 study published within the journal Carbon Balance and Management found animal agriculture's global methane emissions are 11% above previous estimates supported data from the Intergovernmental Panel on global climate change.

Some of these emissions are a result of other aspects of the food industry, such as the wool, egg, and dairy industries, and to the livestock used for tillage. Livestock has been estimated to supply power for tillage of the maximum amount as half the world's cropland.

A 2018 study found that meat consumption will increase because of the results of human increase and rising individual incomes, which can increase carbon emissions and further reduce biodiversity.

Antibiotics and the Environment...

When the animals who have been treated with antibiotics discreet their waste, some antibiotics leave their system and enter our soil as a pollutant. The antibiotics then enter plants through their root systems. Then, if we eat the plant we receive the antibiotics. If another animal eats the plant, they receive the antibiotics.

We then eat the animal and receive antibiotics. These are then directed from our bodies into the soil. There is a cycle where the antibiotics travel from one ecosystem to the next, having impacts on the bacteria it comes into contact with, which in turn affects our ability to fight bacterial infections or maintain a healthy gut for regulating our health.

Is Organic Farming the Solution?

What is Organic...

Different countries have a different understanding or certification for 'organic' produce. What is written here applies to the certification process of the U.S.A.

According to the USDA “Certified Organic” means free from synthetic additives such as chemical fertilizers, pesticides, dyes and can not be made with the use of industrial solvents, genetic engineering or irradiation. Organic meat farmers must raise their animals in more spacious surroundings.

In basic terms, when you buy organic food you are buying quality food that is better for your health and it is better for the farmers responsible for the production of the produce.

Organic Farming...

These farming practices promote the daily living life of animals, meaning they are not continually confined. Animals who are not continually confined, then they have the space they need to move and grow. Organic farming methods to seek agriculture methods that support the health of the environment.

Health & Environmental Benefits...

This space discourages stress and crowding that can promote the spread of bacterial infection and therefore the risk of sickness from bacterial infection is dramatically reduced. As a result (and under the USDA certification) they are not regularly fed doses of antibiotics.

This means the antibiotics do not enter their bodies then they can not enter our bodies when we consume the meat. The animals do not discreet antibiotics into the soil through their waste. This means that our soil is healthy and the plants that grow in it will not absorb antibiotics from the soil because there are no antibiotics in the soil to absorb. 

The research behind organic farming methods appears to be controversial. Some studies are supportive of organic farming methods and some are against it. It is important to note that the studies against these methods are biased and writing reports against this method would be beneficial to them.

Cow-in-Field

Is Organic Meat Better?

This comes down to your judgment and circumstances. There are a variety of reasons why people may choose to eat inorganic meat; it is cheaper, more readily available and lots of research suggests that inorganic meat may be as nutritional as organic meat.

However, here at About Going Green, we believe that organic meat is much better! Yes, it may be more expensive, but you get what you pay for. Not only can eating organic meat promote your health but it can promote the health of our environment. We believe that a healthier environment means a healthier and happier you.

I like to know that when I bite down into a steak, burger, or chop that I have promoted healthier farming methods that protect our environment and the animals which live among it. I like knowing that the animal I am eating has been giving more physical space to grow and live a happier life.

Organic is Healthier...

When you buy organic food, you are buying quality. These farming methods promote happier and healthier lives of the animals we eat. This, in turn, has healthier effects on the meat we consume and the surrounding environment.

Organic meat is more expensive and less readily available but you get what you pay for and making a few small changes to your shopping habits can enable you to purchase organic meat conveniently.

My family and I love to hunt and fish, and we believe that this is the true definition of organic. Sourcing a lot of our meat this way ensures that we have a better idea of where our meat came from. We have to do more physical work to obtain it and as a result, we eat less of it. Evidence suggests that eating less meat (especially red meat) can have great health and environmental benefits.

Tips for Shopping Organic...

When shopping for organic produce always look for the USDA label. This can be found on a huge range of products; meat, dairy, fruits and vegetables, dry food, etc.

By purchasing the food with this label, the organic seal, you can guarantee it is a quality organic produce. These foods have an organic certification with the USDA. Companies using the label are responsible for meeting five organic standards. Concerning the “USDA Organic” or “Certified Organic” seals on food, items must:

  • have an ingredient list
  • content must be at least 95% “Certified Organic”

What do Consumers Say...

When I have spoken to people about the reasons why they consume inorganic meat, they tend to come out with answers based on these key points - cost and availability.

Inorganic meat is cheaper and there are lots of people out there trying to make ends meet. Take single parents for example. They have one person bringing income into the family household, providing for more than just the self.

Inorganic meat is readily available in almost every store. This makes shopping for this meat easy and convenient. With our busy schedules today, few people can say that they haven't grabbed something unhealthy on the go for the sake of convenience.

On the contrary, when I have spoken to people about the reasons why they eat organic meat, they tend to come out with answers based on these key points - personal health, animal rights, and the environment. When I ask them about the cost they often tell me that they don't mind paying the difference because they think that the benefits outweigh the difference in price.

In terms of availability, they say that they tend to shop in stores that provide a wider selection of organic products such and Whole Foods, Sprouts Farmers Market or they shop online, so availability isn't an issue for them.

Meat Industry and the Environment: The Final Verdict!

The nonorganic meat industry is bad for the animals, our health, and the health of our environment. It contributes significantly to global warming and this is a concern regarding the current climate crisis.

Sourcing healthier meat supplies is a better solution that will sustain humans for many years to come. It may be slightly more expensive but the benefits outweigh the cost.

If you have any further comments, please reach. out to be below and I will get back to you soon.



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Reader Comments

  1. It often annoys me it’s the first argument people tend to use when rejecting organic: it is so expensive.
    Like you, I argue it is NOT expensive to take care of yourself and nature in a healthy way. Organic farmers take care of their cattle or produce, and they promote bio-diversity. Poison destroys that.
    If you are interested, Catherine, I have interviewed a consultant who guides Dutch farmers in animal well being. (I don’t want to put unsolicited links here) DM me if you are interested.

    1. I think this is just the effect of clever marketing. Plus most people are so busy being caught up in their toxic nine to five jobs that they do not have time to research these things. Most other people eat non-organic and seem to be just fine so why would they spend the money on it? But the problem is that these health issues do not arise for a long time.

      I would love to see that interview. I will be in touch, thank you.

  2. Very good, important, and useful information. First of all thanks for writing this article. Most people don’t know about organic. Now everyone can know thanks to this article. Very good work.

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