This isn’t going to be a gruesome, graphic article about animal cruelty and the meat industry, but solely how greatly it is immediately affecting our planet. I can’t, however, promise that I won’t get ranty at some points; you’ll understand why afterwards.

I can, however, guarantee that many will stop reading this article right after this sentence – which is fine – but I urge you not to. This isn’t going to be a lecture, but more a making of points to raise awareness of mass agriculture specifically with regards to the rapid downward spiral of our planet. Points which you will probably have never known otherwise.

A few days ago, I finally got round to watching Cowspiracy, a documentary/feature film created by Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn and executively produced by Leonardo DiCaprio himself. I was initially put off because I thought it would be a painful 90 minutes of watching merciless slaughter of animals, and no one neither wants nor needs to see that. But 10 minutes in, I was intrigued. These guys had clearly done their research, and they were about to drop some heavy truth bombs about something that has never openly been exposed to the general public before.

Andersen and Kuhn had embarked on a project where they sought to research the effects of mass-agriculture on global warming, one which has never really been considered before with regards to climate change. Ultimately they found that meat and dairy farms across the world are the main reason why climate change is so rapidly developing. But surely it’s all the fossil fuels we’re burning? All the fumes from our cars and factories? Shockingly, they actually found that the meat/dairy industry contributes towards global warming more than the fumes of cars, lorries, trains, ships, ferries and planes COMBINED.

On their quest, they wanted to figure out why the world has not been informed of this huge contribution to global warming, as we’re constantly fed that it’s our relentless energy use – which is simply not true. They contacted many environmental organisations, including a massive advocate for a more sustainable planet, GreenPeace, and found that they were unwilling to discuss agriculture with regards to global warming. Some, even, refused to be filmed and couldn’t (or wouldn’t) answer as to how mass-farming (deforestation, transportation of animals, waste, growing of crops, water/crops/land for all of the cattle and more) was the number one contributor to the depletion of the world.

Before I go on to my next point, here are only a mere fraction of the facts:

  • For 1 hamburger, you’d need 660 gallons of water to produce it – or the equivalent to 2 months of showering.
  • In the US, only 5% of water use is domestic, compared to 55% needed for livestock.
  • 1 acre per second of the Amazonian rainforest is being chopped down for farming land.
  • 91% of the deforestation of the Amazonian rainforest is due to making space for cattle to graze.
  • It’s expected that the oceans will be completely empty by 2048 due to overfishing.
  • 100 species of animal, plant and insect species in the rainforest are wiped out per day due to their habitats being destroyed.
  • Humans make up 7 bn of the population, compared to 70 billion livestock who require 45 billion gallons of water and 135 billion lbs of food every day.
  • Only 2% of animals on this planet are living wild and free, where 98% are taken up by cattle and humans – in comparison to 10,000 years ago, when humans took up only 1% of the space on earth.

All stats: http://www.cowspiracy.com/facts/

And why, you ask, are environmental organisations not aware of this? Why are they so apathetic towards this issue? Of course, money!

As stated, mass-agriculture and the entire meat and dairy industry is the number one cause for global warming, but it’s also a tricky topic that people don’t want to pry into. If they communicate to their sponsors and fundraisers to stop eating meat, they’re going to lose a shed load of money. And of course, that can’t happen – but apparently, letting the world dwindle into further peril is absolutely fine, as long as they keep getting their steady amount of funds on the reg. This is ultimately what this documentary exposes: the rigged shitstorm of a conspiracy that this industry is.

People seem to believe they just cannot live without meat and shun those who try and make them see that life is possible without it. People say they feel bullied into being vegetarian, but the truth is that they simply don’t want to hear it. Many bury their heads in the sand knowing that, yes it’s cruelty to animals, but still, they don’t have to see it, and so it’s not their issue. At this point, it goes further than animal welfare, which is in itself a whole other world of abused power. The fact of the matter is, people know that when they do know the facts, that they won’t want to eat meat anymore – and that is simply too great a sacrifice.

As you can probably deduce from the facts above, the planet isn’t going to replenish itself anytime soon. Millennials’s grandchildren will never see the world like we do today, all for the fact that people will not accept that they have to change in order for the planet to change. As pointed out in the documentary, people can change their lightbulbs, cycle more, recycle more, but most wouldn’t ever consider changing their diet – which is what must happen in order to see a difference. The world is going to continue deteriorating and eventually (which is evidently not far away) it’s going to be too late, all down to the fact that we simply aren’t willing to change ourselves. And no one wants to talk about it.

Environmental and Ethics author, Dr. Will Tuttle, compared this huge issue to his own brilliant analogy, the family alcoholic: “When we have a dysfunctional family and the father’s an alcoholic, that’s the one thing that no one talks about. Everybody goes around that, and yet it’s the one thing that’s causing the devastation in the relationships in the family, because no one wants to talk about it” (Cowspiracy, Netflix, 17:21-17:37). And I don’t think I can sum it up any better than that.

I’m not saying GO VEGAN, because as obvious it is that this is the answer, it’s equally as obvious that that choice is up to you. At the end of the day, everyone on this earth has a responsibility to help repair and sustain it.

Every little helps as you gradually start to give up animal products – we don’t need them to survive, and like the physician featured in the documentary, Dr. Michael A. Klaper, he proves that after over 30 years of veganism, he’s never been in better shape. There are so many alternatives to meat and dairy now, and though you may miss the taste, your body and mind will adapt. Not only that, but your health will thank you for it! If not for the animals, do it for the future of this planet – whether it happens in your lifetime or not – as you will now know, nothing is more devastating to our planet than the meat and dairy industry.

I would really recommend watching Cowspiracy (Netflix) simply because of its unique insight into how we can really help save the planet, and with far more immediate results.

Nevertheless, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.

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