04/22/02 Earth Day
The informative stand of the Animal Friends on the Earth Day
On the Earth Day, April 22, Animal Friends will set an informative stall on Starcevic Square in Zagreb. Beside the usual informative leaflets and other written material about protection of animals and animal rights, the informative stand will also offer the information about ecology, that is, the effect of raising animals on farms and meat industry on environment.
Animal Friends is the organization for the protection of animals and animal rights and promotion of vegetarianism from the ethical, ecological and health point of view. Since other existing associations dealing with ecology remain at the surface of ecological issues, and don't go deeper to tackle the underlying causes of the global pollution and destruction, we feel the need to stress the causes of pollution and habitat destruction and to urge citizens to change and act while there's still time.
It is essential to motivate and mobilize all the available forces in order to stop the mass destruction of the only planet we have. The meat industry and the habit of eating meat is to a large extent accountable for the irresponsible and needless consumption of resources and the massive pollution.
Natural resources and energy: Take, for example, the states of Washington, Oregon and California, which spend 17 billions kW/hours of electrical power just to raise cattle. This energy would suffice to lighten each house in the whole state for six weeks. The fuel consumed to meet the annual so-called "animal protein" demands of the family of four meat-eaters would suffice for 6 months of driving a car.
On the same patch of land allotted to production of just 1 kg of meat, one could produce - in the same period - for example, 200 kg of potatoes or 160 kg of tomatoes. One could, as well, produce not 50 kg of beef, but instead of it - 1,000 kg of cherries or 6,000 kg of carrots or 4,000 kg of apples.
To conclude: the land needed to feed just one meat-eater (carnivore) can feed 20 vegetarians. In contrast to other branches of economy, the meat industry - in almost all world countries - is heavily subsidized in other to yield profit.
Imagine yourself with a meal of 1 kg of beefsteak on your plate. And, now imagine other 45 to 50 people sitting at the table with - empty plates. These 50 plates could be filled with a cupful of cooked rice for the price of "feeding your steak."
Water: It takes 100 litres of water to produce 1 kg of wheat and 10,000 litres for 1 kg of meat. The quantity of water needed to produce 10 kg of steak is equal to annual water consumption of an average family. The meat production in the USA yields pollution equal to the rest of industrial production and all the towns taken together! Approximately 50% of the water pollution in Europe comes from the mass cattle rearing. Nitrogen from manure has reached such a high concentration levels in the underground waters, that some mineral waters do not meet the criteria for drinkable water anymore. 50% of the total word water consumption goes for massive cattle raising.
Forests: From 1970 on more than 20 mil. hectares of rain forest has been turned into-pastures for cattle! Million of hectares of rain forest are being destroyed every year in order to make more pastures. This kills and endangers many animal species, but also the local human population. Considering the enormous needs of meat industry, in 40 years, there will be NO more rain forests! One third (1/3) of the Eearth's surface is already used as pasture for cattle. Cattle farms are the source of more than 85% of the nitrogen in the form of ammonia, which is considered to be main cause of death of forests.
Soil: In the USA only in the last 200 years 1/3 of the primary surface layer of the soil (approximately 17 cm thick) was destroyed in growing cattle. And it takes from 200-1,000 years for merely 2 cm of surface layer to develop!
Air: Ammonia evaporating from cow stables causes more damage than all cars and factories in the world taken together.
The effect of massive cattle growing on the global warming completely equals the effect of car traffic, and when we include in this consideration felling of trees to clear the land for pastures and to produce fodder for cattle, turning savannah into deserts, the erosion of mountainous areas, the exceptionally high water and energy consumption, we realize that with each kilo of produced meat, we consume, destroy and pollute in every way our planet!