Conversations about air pollution, carbon footprints, greenhouse gases usually focus on cars/transportation and the nebulous concept of “industry” calling to mind post-industrial brick smoke towers pumping black smoke into the sky for some factory that is as monolithic and ominous at it is cartoonish and NOT the biggest contributor to toxic air pollution.
Several studies on the sources and causes of emissions have been done, like this 2006 study and many responses by agriculture and commentaries have monitored small changes, talking about industry practice reform, such as the independent.
Detractors argue that the 3.5% decrease to observable methane emissions over 8 years is PROOF that the agricultural industry simply needs reforms to correct the issue…ignoring the fact that at 14.5% (whether we agree with this figures or not) still makes livestock the #2 ABOVE transportation, and behind the nebulous “industry”.
Furthermore, what are we talking about when we talk about “livestock emissions”
It doesn’t even take into consideration the transportation OF farm animals, or other materials transported for the care and maintenance of the farm infrastructure that supports the animal agriculture. It also doesn’t in any way address or account for the “industry” that produces and uses the materials produced by such agriculture, or the transportation of the animal products to those industries.
The EPA says “Globally, the Agriculture sector is the primary source of CH4 emissions” but then adds to it later that “Methane can be reduced and captured by altering manure management strategies at livestock operations or animal feeding practices” completely ignoring that there are a variety of factors, from transportation, to increased crop production, to cultivation and operation emissions that are all tied to this resource-heavy KIND of agriculture, that aren’t necessarily the specific methane coming out of the animal, or the “feeding practices” unless feeding practices is meant to be a vague, obfuscating catch-all that abdicates as much specificity as it is responsibility.
Their, government funded, suggestions? Buy a new digester, and of course they have a program for that. This wouldn’t be a marketing scam whose vertical integration is covered up by being a regulation mandate? There are many ways in which the animal industry is subsidized by the government in order to keep industry going (not just going, increasing) which results in milk that costs what bottled water costs (and is 1.3 the cost it is in other countries), and the result is also milk
by-products that are thereby cheaper for MAJOR corporations than healthier alternatives, cropping up in shocking locations like the Salt and Vinegar ALMONDS ingredients list, shown here. This is the same thing that contributes to an over-production of soy, corn, and wheat, making these crops omnipresent in processed foods AND animal feeds, due town artificially deflated manufacture cost, thanks to federal, i.e. tax dollar, intervention.
The issue can’t solely be about reforming industry. The issue conversation, and the resulting change MUST be consumer practices, government subsidies, and USDA recommendations for health that contradict WHO and independent health organizations. Veganism offer one most effective solution to ALL of these issues: health, environment, reduction of exploitation of humans and animals, and is therefore an integrative ethic for healthful, mindful, and responsible living.