Public Comment


Jagjit Singh
Tuesday April 25, 2017 - 10:18:00 AM

The Peace & Justice Center of Palo Alto hosted a wonderful yet profoundly disturbing documentary, “Cowspiracy”. The makers of the film, Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn, highlighted the damaging impact of factory farms on the health and survival of our fragile planet. 

They argue that animal farms are the leading cause of deforestation, water consumption and pollution. 

Factory farms are collectively responsible for significantly more greenhouse gases than the burning and extraction of fossil fuels, and fracking. It is also the leading cause of the extinction of the species, topsoil erosion, and destruction of ocean life. What irked and confused the authors was these earth killing activities are almost entirely ignored even by virtually every other environmental agency. 

What is equally disturbing is what appears to be an intentional refusal to openly discuss the issue of animal agriculture, while industry whistleblowers and watchdogs warn the film makers they face considerable risks in their groundbreaking expose’. It appears that animal agriculture is a highly lucrative business protected by powerful lobbyists and politicians. 

The film offers some a startling statistics: livestock and their byproducts account for at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, or 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.  

Methane emitted by livestock is 25-100 times more destructive than CO2. 

Livestock is responsible for 65% of all human-related emissions of nitrous oxide – a deadly greenhouse gas with 296 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. This deadly gas remains in the atmosphere for 150 years. 

Emissions from agriculture are projected to increase 80% by 2050. 

Cows produce 150 billion gallons of methane per day, 

Animal agriculture water consumption ranges from 34-76 trillion gallons annually compared to fracking (hydraulic fracturing) whose usage ranges from 70-140 billion gallons annually. 

Feed crops for livestock consume 56% of water in the US.  

477 gallons of water are required to produce 1lb. of eggs; almost 900 gallons of water are needed for 1lb. of cheese. 

1,000 gallons of water are required to produce 1 gallon of milk. 

Having shorter showers will not really have much impact considering, only 5% of water is consumed in by private homes compared with 55% of water consumed in the US is for animal agriculture. Livestock covers 45% of the earth’s total land. 

When you reach for your next hamburger, remember 2,500 gallons of water are needed to produce 1 pound of beef. The authors recommend we all switch to a plant based diet (vegetarian or vegan) to protect the environment. The book offers many mouthwatering recipes. 

The film has been translated into Spanish and German with English subtitles and into 10 other languages, including Chinese and Russian.