Ali Ryland outlines five important facts about animal agriculture to chew over this World Vegan Month
Sorry to disappoint if you think I’m here to chat about carrots, talk about tomatoes and beat around the beetroot: instead my farming facts will be all about the devastating effects of animal agriculture. Thousands of people have pledged to go vegan this World Vegan Month because it’s bad for the planet, our bodies and the poor beings involved. But you don’t have to take my word on it. Read on to find out for yourself.
1) You kill up to six times as many fish as you eat
That’s right: fish are farmed too. Or they’re just going about their business until one day they’re suddenly caught in a huge trawler net, over a mile long. But what’s really shocking is the wastage. Between 20-30% of fish are thrown back dead once they’re caught, often due to being too small or because the day’s quotas have already being met. This means that you’re killing a third again of what you eat. And if you’re a fan of shrimp, it gets worse. Shrimp fisheries on average ‘discard’ 85% of what they catch, meaning that up to 6 times as many sea animals are returned to the water after they are already dead.
2) Animal farming causes nearly half of all human-made methane emissions
Those are some stinky cows! It’s not their fault of course: we’re the ones who clear forests in favour of cattle ranches and force them to live painfully drawn out lives, whether this pain takes the form of mothers pining for their children, or male calves navigating cruelly cramped conditions before their early deaths. Recently a ‘cow-fart-pack’ was announced, which claims to capture the methane before the cow can emit it. This only involves an invasive surgical procedure and an expensive bit of kit given to every cow on Earth, and then boom! Free gas. Is it just me that thinks that this is absurd, and that the more efficient, cheaper and less cruel method would be to drink nutritious plant milk instead?
3) A third of all land is used to feed farm animals
Imagine what we could do with that land instead. We could use it to plant new, eco-friendly crops like pulses that provide essential nutrients to over-grazed earth. We could plant trees to carbon capture our polluted atmosphere, or merely let nature do its thing. Then we’d have a real chance at combating climate change.
4) At least 77 billion land animals are killed a year for food
Why at least? The number 77.5 billion was collated by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN in 2013. The data was merely an estimate, with many slaughtered animals potentially going unreported by various countries. We also know that animal production is growing exponentially every year and is set to double by 2030. And let’s not forget that the number of animals slaughtered that are unfit for human consumption are not included within these stats. It’s mind boggling.
5) Up to 2.7 trillion fish are caught each year
If you thought the last stat was bad, think again. Each year trillions of fish are caught and either eaten, pulped into fish meal or squeezed down for oil. But you can help stop this. Go vegan this month and you’ll never look back.
Want to know more? See how many animals you could save if you went vegan today by having a whirl with our Veganalyser
By Ali Ryland.
The views expressed by our bloggers are not necessarily the views of The Vegan Society.