Animals & the Environment
Much has been written in the popular press and in the scientific literature about the impact of livestock production on the environment. Quite a bit of media coverage depicts a negative connotation on animal agriculture, but that is not necessarily the case! This section covers details of the animal agricultural industry, that may not be emphasized to the public.
How does agriculture today compare with the past?
There are currently over 7.5 billion people in the world and that number is expected to grow to almost 10 billion by the year 2050. That’s a lot of people to feed! How will we be able to provide safe, nutritious food to all these people? Through advances and changes in the agriculture system throughout time. Read more about the comparison of past and present agriculture here.
What is "sustainable" agriculture?
Sustainable farmers are very aware of the impact of their farming practices on the environment. For this reason, they try to limit their use of non-renewable resources. Not only does this help the environment stay healthy, but it also keeps the farmer from depending too heavily on resources that have limited supply. Sustainable farmers also try to find ways to utilize resources that are already available to him, such as manure. Learn more about transforming manure into electricity and other agricultural sustainability adventures here.
Animals are not and never will be be 100 percent efficient at utilizing their feed for maintenance and growth. While this is true, humans are far less efficient. Therefore, no matter what we feed animals, there will be manure (a combination of feces and urine) produced. This is often referred to as “waste” in the popular press, but in fact, animal manure is a valuable fertilizer to farmers. Come harvest time, the soil has been stripped of its necessary nutrients in order produce the crop being harvested. These nutrients need to be replaced, and there are many methods for going about this. Read more about nutrient excretion here.