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The DOJ delivers the Comey memos to Congress. Also on our rundown: More evidence that rent prices are out of reach in many markets; Wisconsin counties brace for sulfide mining; and the Earth Day focus this weekend in North Dakota is on recycling.

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Report: Another Reason to Go Meatless Today

PHOTO: An aerial view of a Texas feedlot. The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization says large factory farms are increasing climate-changing pollution. Photo credit: Mishka Henner.
PHOTO: An aerial view of a Texas feedlot. The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization says large factory farms are increasing climate-changing pollution. Photo credit: Mishka Henner.
October 7, 2013

PHOENIX - Observing "Meatless Monday" may not only be good for your health and for animals, but a new study says it's also good for the environment. The report from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization reaffirms what others have claimed: that livestock production is a major contributor to climate-changing pollution.

According to Geoff Orme-Evans, public policy manager for the Humane Society International, globalization and huge, concentrated factory farms are the reasons meat is cheaper and people are eating more of it. He said 70 billion land animals are raised for food every year around the globe, a number that is unprecedented.

"So, it's really a wake-up call and confirms what we already know, that the sector is a huge contributor to climate change, and we need to start figuring out what to do about it," he declared.

While the report offers some solutions to the pollution caused by livestock, Orme-Evans said there are steps individuals can take, including buying locally produced foods and eating less meat. Giving up meat just one day a week, he added, is the equivalent for the environment of driving about 1000 fewer miles a year.

Orme-Evans said there are several ways that today's massive livestock farms are affecting the environment. One major problem is that having a large number of animals on a very small amount of land creates a concentrated amount of animal waste.

"There can be really bad effects to the waterways, there have been fish die-offs, and in addition, there is a climate change effect," he said.

Other contributing factors to pollution, he said, are gases produced from manure storage, fertilizer production and, in some cases, deforestation to create more pasture, as well as the energy required to transport animals, and meat and dairy products.

The report, "Tackling Climate Change through Livestock," is at FAO.org.


Doug Ramsey, Public News Service - AZ