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The Environmental Concerns of the Livestock Industry The United States leads the way in a global trend toward increased meat consumption The average American consumes almost twice his or her own body weight in meat every year World meat production has surged nearly fivefold in the last fifty years from 44 millions tons in 1950 to 211 million tons in 1997 This growing manufacturing of meat for food is creating new pressures on land and water resources contributing to water pollution and intensifying global warming Worldwatch Institute The media places emphasis on the environmental damage caused by oil spills pollutants emitted from motor vehicles ozone depletion and acid rain The environmental concerns associated with the manufacturing of nuclear power and paper products are widely-known Commonly overlooked are the hazardous effects of raising animals for food The livestock industry has many negative effects on the environment including pollution of the air land and water resources The improvement of management practices in the livestock industry can lead to the reduction of harmful effects on the environment and at the same time increase profits The Ruminant Livestock Efficiency Program and the Global Livestock Group are programs concerned with cleaning up the air The Environmental Quality Incentive Program targets the cleanup of livestock waste and the reduction of meat consumption is a method of preserving land and water resources The implementation of more efficient management strategies in livestock production can lead to maximized environmental and economic benefits Methane Emissions According to the Environmental Protection Agency the worlds livestock herds account for approximately 25 percent of human-induced emissions of methane CH4 a colorless and odorless but potent greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change Worldwatch Institute Methane is one of the principal greenhouse gases second only to carbon dioxide CO2 and with a global warming potential
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