« on: 15/06/2021 21:19:35 »
Quotefrom: alancalverd on 06/06/2021 15:52:49Previously, wild animals did the same thing.
Farm animals are not a natural part of the environment but entirely "man-made", and disturb the pre-agricultural equilibrium
Not to the same extent.Wild herbivores are not bred to fatten quickly and their numbers are kept in check by wild carnivores. We have got rid of most of the latter and vastly increased the mass of herbivores, clearing forests and draining swamps in order to feed them.
However, in 2002, the United Nations FAO estimates that there were 19 billion chickens in the world, with China having the largest number, followed by the US, Indonesia, and Brazil. By this calculation, for every person in the world, there were three chickens. By 2009 the global chicken population was estimated to have climbed to 50 billion.
and 8000 years ago, there were just a few scrawny birds scratching about on forest floors. Add a billion sheep, a similar number of cows, and around 800,000,000 pigs, and you have a lot of man-made animals exhaling CO2 where once were trees, shrubs and tall grasses inhaling it.
Compare these numbers with 1.2 million wildebeeste and a maximum of about 5 million caribou, and you might get the point that the plant/animal mass ratio has changed rather sharply with the expansion of meat farming, and that ratio, along with burning both fossil and wood fuels, is what determines the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere.
The politically important point is that humans can live perfectly well - and many would argue better - without farming meat, so it is an expanding source of CO2 that is not essential to our standard of living, unlike burning fuel.
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