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In 1989 the crew of a space craft watched a smoke cloud from thousands of fires spread across a million square miles of Amazonia.
It was rainforest being cleared for cattle ranching.
With the burning of vegetation, huge reservoirs of stored carbon dioxide are unlocked, released to float upwards and provide yet more insulation to prevent heat escaping from the earth.
When the cattle arrive, each one belches out 60 litres of methane every day adding another twist to the spiral.
Together, burning and belching provide the 2nd largest contribution to the greenhouse effect.
Since 1970 the destruction of rainforests in Latin America has contributed over 1.4 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.
Methane gas is responsible for 18% of global warming, with the methane gas content of the atmosphere increasing by 1% per year.
18% of world methane emissions are from livestock. There are more than 1.3 billion cattle in the world.
26% of UK methane emissions are from livestock.
UK livestock emissions contribute 1.15 million tonnes of methane to global warming every year.
The United States, the world's largest consumer of meat has lost 1/3 of all its topsoil. Huge areas of the Western states can no longer support the agriculture and the land may well return to buffalo pasture.
Underground water supplies are depleted faster than they can be replenished with rain.
The soil ceases to provide even grazing and as they do, they consume more water in new places.
Livestock's demand for water is as destructive as its demand for food.
In the case of beef grown on irrigated pastures 12 times as demanding as vegetables.
In Britain, nearly 1/2 of all arable land is now at risk of erosion as intensive farming destroys the very structure of the soil.
The world has a new problem - an endless supply of animal excreta, stored in slurry form a 100 times more polluting than human waste - it just keeps on accumulating, too prolific to be absorbed by the land.
Bacteria turns its ammonia into acid, it evaporates, joins with nitrous oxide from fertilizers, combines with industrial pollution and forms acid rain.
Its legacy is sour unproductive soil and dead and dying forests, rivers and lakes.
Almost forgotten in the avalanche of other environmental disasters, acid rain is devastating the northern habitats of Europe and America. In some countries, slurry is its principle cause.
An end to livestock production would dramatically slow the decay.
A single cow can produce 23 tonnes of manure a year.
10 pigs can produce 21 tonnes of manures a year.
Spread over the land this contributes to acid rain, soil and water pollution.
Ammonia from animal farming is recognised as a major cause of acid rain, causing over 70% of acidity in some areas.
In Holland, where livestock outnumbers humans by over 7 to 1, farmers have been told to reduce herds by a quarter to help save dying forests.
Trawlers and seine netters cross the world's oceans scooping out increasing numbers of ever smaller fish.
Heavy trawl boards smash their way across the ocean floor, destroying everything in their path.
Every year more countries scramble to join the killing fields of tuna drift netting and with each net go the lives of more whales and dolphins, rays and seabirds, turtles and sharks.
Some countries continue with their slaughter of whales. Mammals with a language more complex than our own, but of which we understand not one word.
Intensive factory farming has also come to the seas of Europe and it is salmon, mysterious migratory creatures which are the chosen captives.
It is like caging swallows.
Crammed into cages they can only survive with the use of antibiotics and pesticides and are made marketable by colouring their flesh with an additive banned in the USA. And to feed these imprisoned creatures, the seas are trawled for other fish, industrial fish.... 5 pounds to produce 1 pound of salmon meat.
PCBs are industrial chemicals, some of the most poisonous substances known, these now infect almost the whole of the oceans' food chain.
Nine of the world's 17 major fisheries are in serious decline. All of the others have reached their limits.
Worldwide 124 billion dollars are spent every year catching just 70 billion dollars worth of fish.
Recent surveys suggest that over 40% of fish caught in the North sea are diseased - often with cancerous tumours.
An estimated 240,000 tonnes of PCB's (effectively banned in the UK since 1980) are thought to have entered the world's oceans.
Strongly migratory salmon are factory farmed at stocking densities of 15kg per squaremetre.
Keywords: Deforestation Global Warming Soil Depletion Acid Rain Suffering Seas Health Welfare animal rights earth liberation animales animali animais tiere dieren djur (more)
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