Greenhouse gas emissions CO2 and CH4 from food productions
Increasing number of livestock is a major issue
The production of food from animal agriculture is a significant source of emissions in the UK, especially the production of greenhouse gases and pollution of water sources. For cattle and sheep, the major issues are methane and ammonia production and nitrate leaching from grazed land and manure application. For pigs and poultry the main pollutants are ammonia and nitrous oxide emissions from excreta of pigs and poultry, plus leaching from manure application.
🔗 Source: A study of the scope for the application of research in animal genomics and breeding to reduce nitrogen and methane emissions from livestock based food chains - AC0204
“From a physical science perspective, limiting human induced global warming to a specific level requires limiting cumulative CO2 emissions, reaching at least net zero CO2 emissions, along with strong reductions in other greenhouse gas emissions. Strong, rapid and sustained reductions in CH4 [methane] emissions would also limit the warming effect resulting from declining aerosol pollution and would improve air quality.”
🔗 Source: IPCC Sixth Assessment Report
“Livestock continues to encroach on land needed for wild grazers and browsers, particularly in developing countries where livestock production tripled between 1980 and 2002 (30). There are an estimated 3.6 billion ruminant livestock on Earth today, and about 25 million have been added to the planet every year(~2 million/month) for the last 50 years (31). This upsurge in livestock has resulted in more competition for grazing, a reduction in forage and water available to wild herbivores, a greater risk of disease transmission from domestic to wild species (32), and increased methane emissions (31)”
🔗 Source: Collapse of the world’s largest herbivores
AND the feed for all these animals has a substantial carbon footprint
The role of animal feed was found to be central to the environmental impact of pig farms, accounting for between 75-80% of carbon footprint. Changes to feed ingredients, therefore, had the potential to significantly alter the carbon rating of pig farms and the industry as a whole. Specifically, the increasing trend of replacing soya imported from South America (which has a high environmental footprint associated with deforestation) with homegrown crops such as rapeseed and sunflower meal to feed pigs was found to have a significant mitigating effect on environmental outputs.
🔗 Source: Research reveals reduction in carbon footprint of pig farms
POULTRY FEED is by far the most significant contributor to the carbon emissions of a free-range egg farm, new analysis has revealed. A new report from the British Free Range Egg Producers Association (Bfrepa) suggested that bought-in feed can take to up more than 85% of an egg’s carbon footprint.
🔗 Source: Feed accounts for up to 90% of carbon emissions on egg farms
“More concerning still, perhaps, is that peak demand for soya is still some way off. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation suggests production could reach 515m tonnes by 2050, almost double 2012 levels, with most of it fed to animals.”
🔗 Source: Why the pressure is on to change our soya habits
And much of the feed is not produced locally
“The UK imports around 2m tonnes of soya meal annually. 🐖 🐓 & 🐟 90% of it used to feed poultry, pigs and fish. 🇧🇷 🇦🇷 🇵🇾 & 🇺🇸 Most of it comes from Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and the US. 🇪🇺 And in the EU, in the 27 weeks to January 9, 2019, nearly 7m tonnes were imported, up 11.8% year-on-year. 🦁 Well over 90% was for animal feed, with poultry (35%) and pigs (33%) taking the lion’s share”.