Appetite for Destruction, a study by the World Wildlife Fund, found that large-scale farming of feed crops—such as soy and corn—for cows, pigs, chickens, and other animals is destroying natural resources, land, and wildlife.
The study reveals that the amount of land needed to grow feed crops endangers some of the world’s most susceptible areas, including the Amazon, Congo Basin, and Himalayas.
“The world is consuming more animal protein than it needs and this is having a devastating effect on wildlife,” says Duncan Williamson, food policy manager at WWF. He adds:
A staggering 60% of global biodiversity loss is down to the food we eat. We know a lot of people are aware that a meat-based diet has an impact on water and land, as well as causing greenhouse gas emissions, but few know the biggest issue of all comes from the crop-based feed the animals eat.
Last year a report by the World Wildlife Fund and the Zoological Society of London exposed a troubling mass extinction. It indicated that animal populations had declined by 58 percent between 1970 and 2012, with losses expected to reach 67 percent by 2020.
What’s more, raising animals for food, including land for grazing and growing feed crops, now uses more than one-third of the earth’s landmass. Additionally, according to the World Bank, animal agriculture is culpable for nearly 91 percent of Amazon destruction.
Even worse, animals at factory farms produce 7 million pounds of excrement every minute. This waste often pollutes waterways and nearby ecosystems, killing wildlife. Animal agriculture also produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all the cars, planes, and other forms of transportation combined, exacerbating the dramatic effects of climate change.
Animal agriculture is not only terrible for the planet but also unspeakably cruel. Farmed animals are treated like unfeeling objects, and their short lives are marked by unimaginable cruelties: intensive confinement, agonizing mutilations, and violent deaths.
While these reports are heartbreaking, thankfully it’s not too late to take action. We can all withdraw our support from this cruel system by ditching meat, dairy, and eggs in favor of healthy, humane alternatives.