MACRO FARMING AND THEIR MAIN POLLUTION PROBLEMS
We are always offering ways to be more sustainable and take better care of our planet, from vegan recipes to cruelty-free cosmetics. So today we’re going to talk about a slightly more serious topic: macro farms.
What is a macro farm?
A macro-farm is an industrial livestock facility in which the density of animals is very large, ranging from tens of thousands of heads of pigs or cattle to a million in the case of chicken farming. Technological improvements in recent decades, coupled with the rapid increase in world population, have caused meat production to skyrocket.
The problem with large farms
In recent years, intensive farming projects have proliferated. For this reason, a debate is needed, as well as an in-depth study of the environmental, social, and health impact of this form of production.
Animal welfare and loss of native breeds
The animals on these farms are confined and overcrowded, which causes great stress and serious risks due to the epidemic proliferation of diseases. A situation that requires systematic preventive medication of the animals within the facilities through the so-called medicated feed.
In addition, the breeds used are not selected in these macro-farms for their ability to adapt to the climatic and environmental conditions of the places where they are raised, but for their capacity for faster growth. This model could therefore lead, in the future, to the disappearance of certain native breeds.
Livestock breeding is linked to greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, as we have already mentioned, livestock farming produces about 14.5% of greenhouse gasses from human activities on a global scale.
Water use and pollution
The environmental carbon of intensive livestock farming also affects the exploitation of finite resources such as water. Water is returned to the environment in the form of slurry. This is the name given to organic waste made up of wastewater, excrement, vegetable, and food waste.
The inadequate handling of waste causes the contamination of aquifers and rivers with nitrates, being responsible for 80% of the nitrogen that infects bodies of water. Such is its effect that the surface area affected by nitrate pollution now covers almost a quarter of the country.
The high concentration of manure also impacts soil quality. In addition, livestock cause the asphalting and sealing of fertile land and thus deforestation.
Abandonment of fields
74% of the municipalities that host macro-farms lose population. The bad odors produced by the manure, the contamination of the aquifers in the area, and the proliferation of flies not only make life difficult in the environment, but also it’s the disappearance of nature tourism and the loss of employment.
Macro-farms do not produce jobs either. Due to their high technological level, these types of facilities generate very few jobs, of the order of one full-time worker for every 5,000 pigs.
Alternatives to macro-farms
The alternative to this model that is being imposed must include, on the one hand, the reduction of meat consumption (as advised by the food pyramid) and, on the other, a commitment to extensive livestock systems. And both must be promoted by the institutions to guarantee greater environmental, economic, and social sustainability.
🌍 If you are thinking about how to reduce your carbon footprint, you should read this!
Extensive livestock farming is efficient when grazing areas are used to make herds practically self-sufficient, without depending on imported feed and the high consumption of fossil fuels. In addition, under these conditions, the animals facilitate the clearing of boundaries, roads, and farms, help to clear the mountains and control fires, regulate soil quality and contribute to promoting biodiversity, ensuring the permanence of the population in the rural environment.