Eating Animals Impact On Antibiotic Resistant Superbugs and Pharmaceutical Drugs in Drinking Water

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The relentless meatification of diets is a momentous but wildly under-appreciated aspect of modernity. The average person on earth annually consumes nearly twice as much meat as occurred just a half century ago, during a period when the human population leaped from roughly 3 billion to over 7 billion people. On the current course, there will be more than 9 billion people by 2050 consuming an average of more than 50 kg (over 110 pounds) of meat per year, with huge disparities between rich and poor and the fastest growth occurring in the middle. Roughly 70 percent of global meat production by volume comes from pigs and chickens alone, and the industrial production of these two species, led by chickens, is expected to account for almost all further growth. The industrial grain-oilseed-livestock complex occupies a large share of the world’s arable land, with soaring animal populations concentrated in dense enclosures and tied to significant flows of feedstuffs.

This talk will introduce a conceptual framework, the ecological hoofprint, for examining this system of agriculture and how it is contributing to a more unsustainable, unequal, and violent world. In particular, it focuses on how productive environments are organized and the biophysical problems engendered, as a means to understand resource budgets and environmental burdens. The ecological hoofprint also helps to understand how this trajectory of dietary change and system of agriculture contribute to global inequality, the degradation of agrarian labor, and an expanding world of animal suffering.

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