You’ve reached the activism portion of today’s show. Now that you’re informed and angry, here’s what you can do about it. Today’s activism: Curbing Factory Farming.
No matter your dietary needs or preferences, one thing we should all be able to agree on is that factory farms are a nightmare of cruelty and planet destruction. If you believe in science and evidence and facts, the United Nations has pretty much ended the debate on whether a human-friendly climate can handle the rate of animal agriculture we’re attempting to impose upon it.
Senior UN Food and Agriculture Organization official Henning Steinfeld delivered this unequivocal assessment:
“Livestock are one of the most significant contributors to today’s most serious environmental problems. Urgent action is required to remedy the situation.”
The UN report continues by calling out cattle-rearing specifically as a “major source of land and water degradation.” Not only do humans need to slow down the rate of growth around the world of factory farming, but the UN warns that “[t]he environmental costs per unit of livestock production must be cut by one half, just to avoid the level of damage worsening beyond its present level.”
If we as progressives are going to yell at hard-line conservatives for not listening to us on the need to build transit, cap carbon, and stop drilling for oil and natural gas, perhaps we should pause to hear what international scientists have been screaming about in unison for almost a decade.
According to the UN report:
"When emissions from land use and land use change are included, the livestock sector accounts for 9 per cent of CO2 deriving from human-related activities, but produces a much larger share of even more harmful greenhouse gases. It generates 65% of human-related nitrous oxide, which has 296 times the Global Warming Potential (GWP) of CO2. Most of this comes from manure.”
The good news is that there are organizations fighting factory farming in virtually every country. If you don’t live in the U.S. or do and are looking for a local group in your city and state, you can search at World Animal.net/directory. And if you are in the states, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals — better known as the ASPCA — has 10 ways to fight factory farming under their “fight cruelty” tab at ASPCA.org.
Among the suggestions at the ASPCA are:
“Let Money Talk” by using their guide to finding animal welfare certification labels; if the products are raised ethically, they likely don’t come from a factory farm.
“Ask Local Grocers and Restaurants to Offer Foods that are More Humanely Raised.” This one shouldn’t be such a tough ask anymore as awareness of the local food movement has made it to most areas.
“Take Action in Your Community” by starting petitions and letter-writing campaigns or organizing a local group and educating kids on food and farming ethics.
...and the increasingly popular: “If You See Something, Say Something.” Factory farm conditions aren’t just unsafe for the climate and the animals, they are often unsafe for workers. You can join up with labor organizers, immigration activists and others who’s constituencies overlap with your concerns about farming practices.
You can also check out the Humane Society’s factory farming campaign at HumaneSociety.org and sign their “Protect Farm Animals” petition.
"Rearing cattle produces more greenhouse gases than driving cars, UN report warns” via the United Nations News Centre
Hear the segment in context:
Written by BOTL social media/activism director Katie Klabusich