Factory Farming, Methane Gas, and….. Air Pollution??

Hello everyone,

Today I am going to discuss about a topic that’s highly debatable these days. Whatever that’s going to be discussed next is based on my personal opinion. Thanks to Vimala from Niosh Resources who is an environmental activist for sharing this wonderful topic with me.

I am sure many of you would have heard of factory farming and for those who don’t, factory farming is defined as a system of rearing livestock using intensive methods, by which poultry, pigs, or cattle are confined under strictly controlled conditions (definition by Google).

The definition sounds a little overwhelming right? Terms like intensive method and strictly controlled conditions rings an alarm doesn’t it? What does it mean? Personally, I do not like to discuss the details of factory farming and the truth behind it because:

  • I am a die-hard animal lover (and an animal activist too) and I can’t bear to even write about the details of animal cruelty that happens in factory farming.
  • As stated in the title, this post is mainly to discuss about the methane gas emission caused by factory farming and not the ” cruel” part of it.

Nevertheless, if you would like to know the details on factory farming, please browse through

11 Facts about Factory Farms and Environment  and

What is Factory Farming?

to know why you should stop eating meat!

Let’s get to the part on how factory farming increases the emission of methane gas in the environment. Let’s start with….

What is methane gas and why is it dangerous?

Carbon dioxide and methane are categorized as greenhouse gases due to its ability to absorb heat from the Sun. In fact, methane gas is 84 times more dangerous than carbon dioxide gas. Why? Due to its efficiency in absorbing heat from the Sun which immediately warms the atmosphere. The effects of methane is devastating even though it does not linger as long as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The GWP (Global Warming Potentials) of methane is around 23 times more than carbon dioxide. Methane also acts as a precursor to ozone. (Ozone is also a greenhouse gas!!)

Factory farming and methane emission…

Methane is produced in the guts of ruminants. Microbes known as methanogens takes part in a process known as methanogenesis or biomethanation. These organism are classified in the domain  known as Archea. These microbes are closely related to anaerobic bacteria. Methanogenesis is also the final step of biomass decomposition. How does ruminant release methane gas you may ask? Let’s break it down into simple terms. Ruminant (cattle, cows,pigs and sheep) consumes grass as a major source of nutrition. The function of these methanogens (microbes) is to digest the grass and convert it into nutrition for the animal consumption. The product produced from this process is methane!! Okay..how is this methane released then? Well, they belch!! (mainly). A single cow releases up to 250 liters of methane per day (That’s a lot!!! ). If we convert this figure to kilograms it weighs up to 70kg -120kg per year!!

The bad news is the amount of methane emitted from factory farming will probably increase due to the demand for meat and dairy products. Hence, the estimated projection would be a whooping 103.06% by the year 2050. Another fact that needs to be highlighted would be that factory farming produces 37% of methane gas compared to 27% by transportation!! Now let’s think about it? Can you foresee a major climate change that might happen in a few years time?

Besides methane gas emission, factory farming also contributes to other types of pollution which includes deforestation, water pollution, fossil fuel and carbon emission.

I have included two books for you to read more about air pollution (and other types of pollution in general) and its effects to our environment if you’re still not convinced. These are good reads and worth to have in your collection.

Click on the image for further details!!

Introduction to Air Pollution Science: A Public Health Perspective

This is an educational book and used as a desk reference. Currently, it is rated 4 out of 5 from 6 reviews

Earth Under Siege

I am unable to obtain the ratings of this book but this book is definitely worth a read to anyone out there because it precisely highlights how the world around us works and how we as human are destroying it. I totally recommend this as it is targeted to all of us!

“Nothing will benefit human health and increase the chances of survival on Earth as the evolution to a vegetarian diet” – Albert Einstein

The message for the day would be: Take the Vegan Pledge!! or at least for a start, be a vegetarian. Albert Einstein was a genius and he was a vegetarian, wasn’t he? 

Finally, something for you to ponder about. Thanks to Vimala again who brought it up in our discussion. Under certain circumstances, if the human race was wiped out altogether, 50 years from now the Earth will still remain as it is but if we destroy every single insects on Earth, chances of survival for earth is very slim and it would fall apart!! That was a shocking fact and to read more about this, you could go to:

What if all insects died

When  humans go extinct: How life will evolve after we’re gone

 

Think about it guys/gals!! What is the purpose of mankind?

To your success,

Dr. Veena

 

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10 thoughts on “Factory Farming, Methane Gas, and….. Air Pollution??”

  1. Definitely an eye opening write up Dr Veena. Thanks for sharing. We take the availability of meat for granted without actually realizing what it is that we are contributing too,the distruction of our environment.

  2. Very good article. One of the many reasons I do not eat meat. I think it is selfish of Americans, because they consume the most meat, to take so many things for granted. It’s going to take something drastic and something we can’t cover up before people finally realize how screwed up things really are.

    1. I am glad that you do not eat meat. Same goes here. Yes, as humans we do take so many things for granted. I’ve pondered about this a lot and it’s time for us to have a few moments of self realization and discover what is our purpose on Earth

  3. When I started to read this post I immediately began to remember a documentary about KFC and thought about the chicken farms they have. It did look somewhat cruel, but I can imagine far worse, (although I’m like you and don’t really like to think about it at all).

    You mentioned cattle, sheep and pigs in your post. I wonder what the emissions would be for chickens. You did say though that they feed on grass. So I’m a bit confused about it all now, lol.

    1. Hello Owain, Your question has actually sparked a new idea in me to write a sequel post to this. I realized that i only talk about cows in my post. Well, chicken and pig releases methane in their manure. That also contributes to a significant figure. Shall write a post on it soon. Please do look out for my next post. Thanks

  4. Wow! This is really interesting and informative information Dr. Veena. I never would have thought factory farming and methane emitted from the animals you listed can possibly lead to climate change. In all honesty, this makes me second guess eating as much meat as I do. It’s also a scary thought that we can be contributing to the distruction of our environment, and I’m surprise this issue isn’t really covered at all by the news or media. Thanks for the information Dr. Veena and keep up the great work!

    1. Thanks for reading. I guess it is not getting as much coverage as it should be probably because quite a number of famous corporate bodies are directly involved in it. This will disrupt their market. But, we being consumers should educate ourselves enough and stop supporting them. I’m glad that you found my article informative.

  5. I want to give up eating meat after reading your article. From what I see, now a days as population grows, more and more opt for meat diet. Many out there ignorant of these facts. It’s great that you bring all these information to light. I’m gonna share this with my friends and family!

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