Many different studies have shown the adverse effects that raising and growing livestock in an industrial setting has on the local environment. The animals themselves tend to either have bone defects or other problems accrued from the extremely fast growth rate that the animals experience. Not only are they grown so quickly to be killed, but most of them are suffering their whole lives. Arguments have been made that livestock aren’t susceptible to conscious thought; why does it matter to us? That does not mean they are not capable of suffering. Regardless of the view on the situation, the overall goal seems to lead to reducing the number of animals killed.
Probably the biggest environmental impact that raising animals industrially has is the waste that it produces and how to deal with it. There are only a few ways to deal with the problem with the infrastructure that we currently live in. One is to reduce consumption entirely of all animals, which would reduce the amount raised and thus reduce the waste that the animals produce. We can also try to move away from industrially raised animals and turn towards animals raised more humanely. All of the other solutions are attempting to create a new technology to reduce animal waste or to better deal with it.
Another theory can be crafted regarding the fat content in most meat that is produced and how it affects the average American weight. Due to the ease of access to the fatty meat and the low cost at which it is sold in fast food restaurants, Americans are gradually becoming obese. I do not only blame the meat industry for the obesity problem in America but also the consumerism mindset. Obesity affects the environment, because it leads to much more usage of automobiles instead of biking or walking, which are much more sustainable methods of transportation.
The ethical issue of using animals as machines to produce our food is not a problem to the environment. It is the problems evolved from the animal waste and slaughter waste that is caused by industrially raising and killing animals, along with the evolution of antibiotic-resistant diseases that is caused by an increase in the use of antibiotics in our farm animals. Industrial agriculture and farm animals take up the majority of the water usage in the United States, along with roughly 80 percent of antibiotics sold in the country.
For any meat that exists there is an alternative meat-like product created by plant products processed in a machine that generally is nutritionally similar, doesn’t require antibiotics, and doesn’t require the death or suffering of any animals. So what is the difference between eating meat produced by a machine from plant like products versus using the animal as a machine to produce the meat? Some say that there is a superior taste to the meat or they have dutifully been subjected to meat as a traditional value. There are many options for meat lovers to have comparable products that do not designate animals to be harmed in any way.
There are many different ways to go about being proactive in the reduction of animals killed in industrially produced meat. One could look further into where the meat they are consuming comes from, and attempt at eating more humanly raised animals. This could be assimilated with eating meat from local farms, or from the surrounding area. Another way is to actually try out these different varieties of meat substitutes for a month and see how you like it. A good way to start is to try reducing your personal consumption of meat and trying to add new protein sources into your diet. Some good sources of protein include milk, beans, nuts, cheese, eggs, and soy and many of these don’t have the same fat content as most meat does.