Fact: Methane is 21 times more potent than carbon monoxide as a greenhouse effect gas, making it one of the primary proponents of global warming in our world today.
Fact: Animal agriculture is the number one source of methane output, as it produces an astounding 100 million tons per year through various “digestive byproducts.”
Fact: The livestock sector is responsible for about 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions. This is nearly 5% more than the transportation sector!
Yes, friends, the animal agriculture connection to global warming is glaring pretty fucking bright these days, and it’s not just the treehuggers trying to make this point. A recent 400-page report from the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization, entitled Livestock’s Long Shadow, identified the world’s 1.5 billion cattle as the premier culprits in the threat to our forests, wildlife and climate. They also cited our exploding population of cows for a number of other environmental offenses, including poisoning our rivers and drinking water, creating alien species, acid rain and deserts, and producing dead zones in the ocean while destroying our coral reefs.
And yet, I’m still waiting for virtually any meaningful discussion about this in our mainstream media. The animal agriculture/global warming connection has become the proverbial elephant on the coffee table. Whether it’s Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” (which I otherwise dug), the growing slew of magazine articles on the subject, or even John Edwards direct question on the subject from Bill Maher on Yahoo’s recent Democratic Candidate Mashup, nobody’s talking about the overwhelming influence animal agriculture has on the earth. There remains a serious disconnect between the trashing of our earthly resources and its link to the factory farm industry. Everyone either avoids the issue outright or dances around it and says nothing.
It makes you wonder: How far reaching is the meat industry’s grip in the world that Al Gore can’t talk about it…that the media doesn’t want to write about it…and that our political candidates won’t directly address it?