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Capitalism

November 17, 2020 - Counter Punch

How Livestock Impacts Ecosystems

How Livestock Impacts Ecosystems
Cattle traversing a chemical foot bath© Photabulous!

Livestock production is one of the most ubiquitous human activities around the globe. It is particularly detrimental to arid lands, and much of the western public lands are arid. Typically most livestock advocates, which also includes far too many conservation organizations, focus on one or two areas where livestock impacts can be mitigated (not eliminated) such as fencing riparian areas to protect water quality or range riders to fend off predators.

But all of these are just halfway measures that ignore a full accounting of the multiple ways that livestock production harms our ecosystems, wildlife, and our planet. They do not address the real issue-does it make sense to use water-loving, slow-moving, domesticated animals to produce protein? There are alternative sources of protein, and certainly better places to do this than the arid lands of the Western U.S.

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