Animal agriculture is responsible for some of the most significant environmental problems facing our planet. Because of intensive livestock operations (ILOs) and feed production, we are already seeing native species loss, soil erosion and lake and river pollution. They consume huge amounts of water, land and energy and a major contributor of greenhouse gases.
ILOs are very energy intensive. They require large volumes of fossil fuels to operate machinery, store and process feed and transport fertilizer, water, manure and animals long distances
The production of 1 kg of animal protein requires 100 times more water than does the production of 1 kg of grain protein
ILOs are generating vast, unhealthy amounts of animal waste that need complex technological systems of management. In smaller-scale farms with integrated species and crops, animal waste is distributed at a low density across a landscape or is composted (killing off harmful pathogens) before being put on fields and on our food
They generate so much manure that it exceeds the land's capacity to absorb it and so over application and runoff is polluting our lakes and killing fish and other wildlife
ILOs are also responsible for a range of air pollutants, including viruses, bacteria and fungal spores that can be carried in the air, affecting the health of farm workers and nearby communities
Despite all these concerns, ILOs don't face nearly the same rigorous rules, inspections, oversight and penalties for environmental protection and pollution control that other industries do
To protect our environment and encourage better animal welfare, WSPA is asking all levels of government to regulate ILOs like other major polluting industries — subject to the same rules, enforcement and penalties for infractions.