The campaign to promote veganism by exposing the destructive reality of the animal agriculture industry.

The animal feed industry’s impact on the planet

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The intensive farming practices that supply animal feed for factory farms are destroying our water, air, and soil, and harming countless animals raised in food supply chains. But there is hope. The movement to build a healthier food system is growing every day. Around the world, people are advocating for systemic change. If just one person follows a vegan diet, an average of 95 animals will be spared each year,

VICKY BOND: Take a moment to picture a farm animal enjoying dinner. Are you imagining a cow grazing on grass or perhaps a chicken pecking at the ground, foraging for seeds and insects? In today’s factory farming system, the “feed” these animals eat is far removed from their natural diets. Rather than munching on grass or insects, most animals on factory farms eat some type of animal feed—a cost-effective mixture of grains, proteins, and often the addition of antibiotics designed to make them grow as quickly as possible.

The ingredients in animal feed don’t just matter to the animals’ health. They also impact human health—especially since the average American consumes 25 land animals yearly. Researchers have noted that animal feed ingredients are “fundamentally important” to human health impacts. As author and journalist Michael Pollan puts it: “We are what we eat, it is often said, but of course that’s only part of the story. We are what what we eat eats too.”

So, what are the main ingredients used in animal feed today? Corn and other grains. In 2019, farmers planted 91.7 million acres of corn in the U.S. This equals 69 million football fields of corn. How can so much land be devoted to a single crop—especially something many people only eat on occasion?

The answer is that corn is in almost everything Americans eat today. It’s just there indirectly—in the form of animal feed, corn-based sweeteners, or starches. The U.S. is the world’s largest producer, consumer, and exporter of corn. And a large percentage of all that corn is used for animal feed, supplying factory farms across the country.

While “cereal grains”—such as barley, sorghum, and oats—are also used for animal feed, corn is by far the number one feed grain used in the U.S., accounting for more than 96 percent of total feed grain production. Corn supplies the carbohydrates in animal feed, offering a rich energy source to increase animals’ growth.

Unfortunately, what this system offers in efficiency it lacks in resilience. Numerous researchers have expressed concern about the vulnerability of the food supply that is so reliant on a single crop. “Under these conditions, a single disaster, disease, pest, or economic downturn could cause a major disturbance in the corn system,” notes Jonathan Foley in another article for Scientific American. “The monolithic nature of corn production presents a systemic risk to America’s agriculture”…

To understand the true impact of animal feed, we must look at animal feeding operations. Of all the animals in our food system today, 99 percent live on factory farms… Overall, factory farming is incredibly resource-intensive and harmful to the environment. From agricultural runoff to water waste and pollution, CAFOs are responsible for some of humanity’s worst climate impacts…

The impacts of our animal-based food production system are far-reaching and complex. The intensive farming practices that supply animal feed for factory farms are destroying our water, air, and soil—and harming countless animals raised in food supply chains. But there is hope. It’s not too late to build a better food system from the ground up.

The movement to build a healthier food system is growing every day. Around the world, people are advocating for systemic change… if just one person follows a vegan diet, an average of 95 animals will be spared each year, according to the book, Ninety-Five: Meeting America’s Farmed Animals in Stories and Photographs. Concerned citizens and consumers can also hold corporations accountable for animal abuse and environmental degradation—by pressuring companies to adopt more sustainable practices.  SOURCE…

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