Despite progress in environmental and animal issues, there are still many things which yet have to be tackled and solved. Today, it is about animal rights, and why humanity should change their way of perceiving and treating wildlife, livingstock, and else.
Intensive livestock farming and wet markets are two places in which animal cruelty takes place. And at this point, I think that everyone is familiar with the topic or has heard otherwise about this particular issue in the food industry.
The reason for this method of husbandry is connected with the increasing demand for meat, but at the cost of the animals health and also a decrease of meat quality.
The article of Our World in Data also explains it:
„Global meat production has increased rapidly over the past 50 years – as we see, total production has more than quadrupled since 1961. The chart shows global meat production by region, measured in tonnes.“
But since it is a longer article, here are other facts they have summarized about the global meat and diary production:
We can conclude from the data that factory farming is used to satisfy the growing demand by making it cheaper to produce, and it is also a method of maximizing profit. Due to the closeness of animals within these farms, questions also have arisen about the negative health effects it has on humans. Bacterial infections which can be transmitted to humans, such as salmonella and campylobacter, can spread more easily on the farms. From time to time, there are also scandals which reveal the terrible conditions under which the animals are kept. Thus, the ability of pathogens to enter the environment around farms and slaughterhouses is a clear threat to both animals and humans.
Next to factory farming, there’s also the case of environmental destruction, and therefore the destruction of natural habitats of many animal species, which endanger certain animals or even went extinct. An article of Sciencing explains it:
„When an animal loses the natural home or habitat that it needs to survive, its numbers decline rapidly, and it moves toward extinction. It’s estimated that 14,000 to 35,000 species are at risk of becoming extinct, and habitat destruction is one of the main causes.“
I recommend reading the article, it is short and informative (takes 5-10 minutes to read).
Deforestation is one example of environmental destruction, and I will elaborate why forests are so important to both animals and humans.
Importance of Forests
According to data of the Wolrd Wildlife Organisation (WWO), forests cover 31% of the land area of our planet. For instance, the forests help by purifying water and air, as well as providing people with jobs (13.2 million people across the world are occupied in the forest sector, and another 41 million have a job that is related to the sector).
Regarding animals: a vast majority of 80 per cent of the world’s land-based species, like elephants and rhinos, live in forests.
Environmental importance: forests act as a carbon sink, which means that they absorb Co2 that would otherwise be free in the atmosphere and contribute to the ongoing changes in climate patterns. Therefore, forests play an important role in mitigating climate change.
The article of the WWO also explains why deforestation is a problem in the first place:
„The main cause of deforestation is agriculture (poorly planned infrastructure is emerging as a big threat too) and the main cause of forest degradation is illegal logging. We’re losing 18.7 million acres of forests annually, equivalent to 27 soccer fields every minute.“
Moreover, rain forests host much of the world’s biodiversity; but they are, too, the target of deforestation: „[…] in the Amazon around 17% of the forest has been lost in the last 50 years, mostly due to forest conversion for cattle ranching.„
If nothing is done, then you can expect following:
- ~ 420 million acres of forest could be lost between 2010 and 2030
- 11 of the worlds most ecologically important forest landscapes will account for over 80 percent of forest loss globally by 2030
The Hotspots are the Amazon, the Atlantic Forest and Gran Chaco, Borneo, the Cerrado, Choco-Darien, the Congo Basin, East Africa, Eastern Australia, Greater Mekong, New Guinea, and Sumatra.
On the issue of expanding agriculture due to an increasing population, the WWO states following: „In addition, agricultural products, such as soy and palm oil, are used in an ever-increasing list of products, from animal feed to lipstick and biofuels. Rising demand has created incentives to convert forests to farmland and ranch land. Once a forest is lost to agriculture, it is usually gone forever—along with many of the plants and animals that once lived there.„
Fires, while naturally occuring, are usually a beneficial element of many forest landscapes. However, if they occur in the wrong place, at the wrong frequency or at the wrong severity, then they become problematic. Fires are also used to clear land for other usages, such as planting crops or cattle breeding.
The WWO on the danger of it: „These fires not only alter the structure and composition of forests, but they can open up forests to invasive species, threaten biological diversity, alter water cycles and soil fertility, and destroy the livelihoods of the people who live in and around the forests.„
A Necessary Change
Consequently, it would be irresponsible to continue with the status quo. It is essential for humanity to change their habits and willingly and actively protect the environment and animals. The protection of animals requires the preservation and protection of their habitats, and therefore the environment.
A reduction of meat consumption is one effective way to start it, because it will also result in a decreasing demand of meat and therefore make factory farming unprofitabel. Other ways of protecting animals, i.e. wildlife, is through laws and the enforcement of these laws through controlling and observing.
The status quo, as it currently is, is unsustainable and also dangerous to humans. Plastic pollution, for example, also pollutes the environment and the microplastic is eaten by marine life which in turn is another source of food for many people around the world. Microplastic that is consumed by them cannot be digested, thus some of them starve with a „full stomach“.
Humanity can still avoid the worst path, but it takes the political, economic and social will to do so. The consequences of doing nothing will be worse than the costs of protecting and preserving the animals and enviroment now.
From an Absolutist Monarchy to a Constitutional Monarchy (in the animal kingdom)
Since animals are not sentient, they can neither organize a revolution nor protest against the conditions they exist within. There’s no uprising like in the US during the American Civil War (April 12, 1861 – April 9, 1865), the German Revolution (1848 – 1849), the Hungarian Uprising (Oct 23, 1956 – Nov 10, 1956), or the French Revolution (May 5, 1789 – Nov 9, 1799); the animals suffer mostly silently.
However, the animals do have people on their side who fight for a better treatment or even the abolishment of meat consumption. They range from moderate groups which protest peacefully and act lawfully to radical groups which break the law and act as provocative as possible to get wide media coverage.
The moderate groups are hereby what I want to focus on, for obvious reasons like the willingness to compromise if necessary. A democracy is not possible with animals, that’s for sure since they don’t have the mental capacity to participate in the system. That’s why a „constitutional monarchy“, with humanity as the un-elected „Monarch“, is the ideal system. In this system, the moderate animal rights group (also organisations like the WWO) serve as the parliament of the animals. Not a literal parliament, but they have an advisory function at the very least.
During the process of making laws, the „Parliament of the Animals“ is called in and they advice how to protect animals and their habitats. At the same time, real democracy takes place too by working together with the people in the region and ensuring that the regulations and laws do not harm them either. With all these things taking into consideration, a sustainable system can be created.
Through environmental awareness campaigns the attitude towards widlife and livestock, as well as everything inbetween, can be changed effectively.
A lot needs to change, that’s certain.