Cows are now leading pollutant.

Author(s): Ari Aronoff, Connor Levine, Allen Smith

Animal agriculture has left more water waste than large steel and gas corporations combined.

As we all know, carbon emissions have become a massive problem in the past 30 years or so. The amount of fossil fuels and natural resources we have used has become immense throughout the years and the media has convinced everyone that it is the primary problem, but in reality it's only a fraction of the true problem. What is the true problem? Most likely what you had for dinner last night. The meat industry has become so intensely corrupt throughout time to the point that corporations like Tyson Foods is creating 6 times more water pollution than the oil company Exxon Mobile. They have released more than 104 million pounds of waste and pollution into America's waterways only in the past three years and have been the leading cause of ocean dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico.

Not only are we destroying our water sources, we're wasting them too!

As we know water is a renewable resource which means there's only a finite amount in the world. There's a lot, but at the same time we use a ridiculous amount of water. For instance, the amount of water we use for animal farming is way more than anyone could guess. On average, its said that it takes around 620 gallons of water, not just for one cow, but just for one patty. To put that into perspective, the average cow weighs in around 1150 pounds. After the cow is harvested the available meat that's used weighs in at 600 pounds, but about 30% of that is fat so that leaves around 450 pounds left to use. We've taken out more than half of the cow now, so just think of all of the water wasted on only one cow. With that 450 pounds that's left, around 1800 quarter pound patties can be made, or 1200 6 ounce, or 900 half pound patties are able to be made. If we do the math, 620 gallons of water for one patty multiplied by 1800 quarter pound patties equates to about 1,116,000 gallons of water just for one cow. Now don't be mistaken, cows are being fed one millions gallons of water in their life time. The water used includes the water used for all of the wheat, corn and other grains they're fed, which is a lot, water they drink, water for processing, etc.

Methane that comes from cows is proven to be 25 times worse than Carbon Dioxide.

As we know we all need to stop using our cars and all recycle and ride bikes to work to save the planet. That will obviously help us fix out planet and help the Earth become what it used to be. Well that may not be true in any sense at all. Kip Anderson, the producer of the Documentary "Cowspiracy", claims that if everyone were to stop using cars and either walk or ride a bike then global warming would remain nearly unchanged. The reason for this is because of the immense amount of Methane gas (CH4) being released into our atmosphere. In comparison, methane only lasts about twelve years instead of carbon's range of 20 to 200. Although that sounds good, it also meets the fact that methane is 25 times more effective in keeping radiation and heat inside the atmosphere. This means that whatever carbon does in 100 years methane can do in around 4.

But how does the methane get into the atmosphere?

The obvious answer here is animal agriculture. Going deeper into it, it can get much more complicated. So lets get into it. To start, a fair amount of the methane comes from the digestive system of the cattle, poultry, pork, and any other farmed animal. The reason so much methane is released is because these animals are fed ridiculous amounts of grain and food that the waste they release is excessive to what it needs to be. Another contributor to the waste is, you guessed it, the waste. As we all know farmers don't let any part of the animal go to waste. Even the waste itself. Manure is commonly used as fertilizer for crops and any type of farm work. This is a good thing as the waste is used out towards a good cause that can doesn't harm people. Except when it does. Manure obviously releases methane gas and when put into storage, the gas is built up in copious amounts and so storing manure can release exponentially more methane than from what comes directly from the cow.

Along with pollution in the Earth, cows are also polluting our bodies.

As most know, animal agriculture uses an extensive amount of antibiotics and hormones to help (force) the animals to grow and for the meat to be more lean than what it would be normally. The Centers for Disease Control claims that antibiotic resistance is one of the top five threats to public health. It's said that 70% of antibiotic use for humans is sold to livestock industries world wide, some of which are not FDA approved. So this means that meat corporations are putting hormones and chemicals into their meat that could most likely have harmful affects on humans. Which also backfires on them because you can't have good business when your customers are terminally ill or dead.

Well what can we do about it?

As a society we can choose to eat food that is created more naturally and not as bad on the environment. If we were too cut down the amount of meats we eat and replace it with more vegetables the impacts on the environment would be significantly better. We could also find more efficient ways to get meats from animals that don't hurt the environment.