A recent report by World Animal Protection, released on Tuesday, underscored the alarming revelation that factory farming is responsible for a staggering 11% of global greenhouse gas emissions, contributing significantly to the escalation of climate change.
This concerning information arises at a time when the expansion of factory farming, fueled by urbanization, a surging global population, and an increased demand for meat, continues to exact a toll on the climate, environment, health, and the well-being of countless animals confined in inhumane factory farms.
The resource-intensive nature of factory farming exacerbates the emission of greenhouse gases, exacerbating heatwaves, wildfires, floods, and droughts.
The cultivation of crops for animal feed leads to the destruction of vast wild habitats, resulting in the loss of biodiversity and the release of additional carbon into the atmosphere. The entire process, from factory farm to dinner plate, contributes a staggering six trillion tons of emissions.
Major meat producers, such as the notorious Brazil-based JBS, are reaping record profits while perpetuating unethical and unsustainable practices that harm vulnerable communities, animals, and the environment.
In response to these findings, World Animal Protection is urging governments at COP28 to implement a 10-year moratorium on new factory farms and to curb the rapid expansion of this flawed food system. Additionally, the organization calls for financial support for adaptation and loss and damage to be directed towards smallholder farmers in the developing world.
Tennyson Williams, Director for Africa at World Animal Protection, emphasizes the interconnectedness of animal cruelty and climate change, stressing that eliminating cruelty in farming is essential for mitigating climate change.
Dr. Victor Yamo, World Animal Protection’s Humane and Sustainable Agriculture Campaigns Manager, asserts that world leaders must take meaningful action at COP28 to hold the factory farming industry accountable. He calls for governments to redirect subsidies from industrial meat and dairy to plant-based foods, supporting small-scale farmers and sparing animals on factory farms from extreme suffering.
The report also reveals that the factory farms in the Global North are responsible for a staggering US$8.65 billion worth of damage from recent disasters in Africa, Asia, and South America.
As the economic costs associated with climate-driven disasters are projected to exceed US$1 trillion annually by 2050, with factory farms accountable for over US$100 billion of that cost, the urgency to address the devastating impact of factory farming on climate change cannot be overstated.