In the US alone, livestock animals produce 87,000 pounds of manure per second.*
Look at a clock for a minute, and let this information sink in. Every single second that goes by, we have an additional 87,000 pounds of manure to deal with.
Is this a problem? Yes! And a huge one at that.
Many people assume all of this manure is just used as fertilizer, but that’s nowhere close to reality given the scale of it.
Much of the manure ends up in our water, through runoff or “spills” from massive manure lagoons. Countless “major manure spills” occur every year.
Pathogens from manure cause human diseases, and the elevated nitrates in the water (from manure) also harm human health.
The CDC has even reported that some women experienced “spontaneous abortions” due to high nitrate levels in their water, thought to have been caused by livestock manure.
When it reaches the ocean, manure is also a leading cause of what are called “deadzones”, or oxygen-depleted areas where marine animals cannot survive. One of the largest ocean deadzones is very close to where we happen to live, in the Gulf of Mexico (caused by runoff flowing from the Mississippi River).
And these are just some of the many detrimental aspects of manure. And manure is just one of the many ways that animal agriculture is unsustainably devastating for the environment (other issues include its immense land use (being the number one driver of deforestation in the world), its massive water waste footprint, and its being one of the leading drivers of greenhouse gas emissions).
Of course, all of these problems wouldn’t exist if we didn’t continuously breed billions upon billions of “livestock” animals into existence in the first place.
Although we don’t need to consume even one gram of animal foods, we breed billions of these animals for the knife, which is immensely cruel and unjust no matter how you spin it.
If you’re not already, please familiarize yourself with these issues and leave animal foods off your plate forever. Please go vegan.
*Source: Report by Minority Staff of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry by Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), estimating U.S. livestock produce 1.37 billion tons of solid animal waste each year.