Most of us are aware of the horrific consequences of livestock production and may feel somewhat guilty due to the 50 billion and counting land animals that will be raised to be slaughtered for food around the world every year. However, 88% of us in the UK, as of 2018, still insist that meat is 'too tasty’ to entirely give up, even though its effects vastly contribute to our deteriorating environment. So, what exactly are some problems with the industry, and what can we do to help?


Animal agriculture has a substantial green footprint on Earth, as it contributes to some of the largest environment issues around the world, such as deforestation, acid rain, huge amounts of waste, and pollution due to fossil fuel usage. Shockingly, meat is considered to be an immense contribution to the sixth mass extinction, where there is an excessive extinction of species as a result of human activity. Further still, its greatest issue it has caused is climate change. Cattle farming contributes to around 20% of greenhouse gas emissions, which is much more than the gases given off by cars, ships, planes and other forms of transportation combined. Climate change itself is an enormously dangerous risk to our health, so in order to mitigate the effects of climate change and global warming, it is vital that we reduce our consumption of meat products, according to the United Nations.


Another crucial predicament with the production of meat is the unethical approaches of slaughtering animals. We should regard that animals are also conscious beings with feelings and needs, and we should not unreasonably make them experience huge amounts of pain just for our consumption. Many people assume that animals are less intelligent than humans, and therefore have a smaller brain and suffer less than us. However, John Webster proposed that sentient animals have the capacity to experience pleasure and are motivated to seek it, just like us.


In addition, the vast masses of water and land meat production entails makes it highly inefficient. Producing one kilogram of beef requires approximately 15000 litres of water, showing just how much of our resources are consumed by livestock farming. Around 30% of our planet’s surface is currently being used by animals for meat production, and considering how limited water and land are in some parts of the world, this shows just how uneconomical the usage of resources are, so the land and water wastage is a huge concern. More than 90% of the Amazon rainforest land which was cleared up in 1970 is being used for grazing cattle and other animals, and one of the main crops grown in the rainforest is soybeans, which are used to feed the animals. The soybeans in most vegetarian foods and drinks are not grown in the rainforest, but in the US. This shows that we should thoroughly consider these detrimental impacts of livestock production and reduce our meat consumption for the health of our planet, and to decrease the suffering of these animals.


By Sahana Motta