The basic facts of this topic are that factory farming puts a large strain on the environment. Also that veganism, a way of living which seeks to exclude, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose, could be the answer to many environmental crises, like the current drought in California. Some arguments brought in talk about if the amount of meat yielded is worth the environmental destruction. Professor David Pimentel from Cornell University claims that it takes about nine times more calories of fossil fuel to produce a calorie of meat than it does to produce a calorie of plant protein. Another example of environmental destruction is in the emission of greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases are gases that float up into earth’s atmosphere, absorb infrared radiation, and basically cause a “greenhouse effect”, which warms the Earth and causes climate change. The humane society states that factory farming accounts for 9% of human induced emissions of carbon dioxide, 37% of emissions of methane, and 65% of total emissions of nitrous oxide. It is also claimed that methane has about 20 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxide has about 300 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. All of these greenhouse gases have terrible effects on our environment by warming the earth, and therefore melting the ice caps, causing the sea levels to rise, modifying rain patterns, and making South Carolina even more unbearably hot than it already is. With all of this environmental background information, we can move on to talk about the more present parts of the issue. We can first begin to discuss some originations associated with veganism, like PETA. PETA stands for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. PETA is well known for sharing information about vegetarian and veganism and sharing sad stories about animal abuse on their website and other social media platforms. The organization has also been under fire in the recent years about them euthanizing animals. The organization has also been under fire for some of their ads being viewed as sexist. All and all, this has helped in giving vegetarians and vegans a bad reputation. On social media vegans are currently being perceived in bad ways, as overzealous, annoying, and very “in your face” about their views and beliefs. I am honestly not sure how I could but this in my essay, but I feel like it was important to talk about my target audience and how they are perceived by the rest of the world. Circling back to the beginning of my post, one the questions asked in the ILA was “are there topics that are being ignored?” The topic as a whole is being ignored, simply because of the fact that the meat industry and a very large industry with a large amount of money. Even though it has proven environmental impacts, factory farming is left out in numerous climate change and environmental conversations. I know that currently my argument isn’t very clear, but my final thesis is: How much does factory farming affect the environment (maybe specifically to California’s drought), and can veganism be the answer.
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Farm Sanctuary. n.d. 23 September 2016. <http://www.farmsanctuary.org/learn/factory-farming/factory-farming-and-the-environment/>.
One Green Planet. n.d. 23 September 2016. <http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/10-scary-facts-about-meat-and-the-environment/>.
The Vegan Society. n.d. 23 September 2016. <https://www.vegansociety.com/go-vegan/definition-veganism>.
World Watch Institute. n.d. 23 September 2016. <http://www.worldwatch.org/node/549>.