The 62%

The world of wild animals is getting vanishingly smaller. This is partly because another animal has taken up so much of wild animals’ land to farm other animals. That dominating animal is of course us – humans.

Farmed animals amount to around 62% of all mammalian biomass, compared to 4% for wild animals, according to Our World in Data.

These figures don’t include birds, as they aren’t mammals. The biomass of the farmed birds outweighs their wild counterparts by over two to one.

The vast majority of farmed animals – over 90% – exist on factory farms, meaning they live out their lives within a system of mass production.

Factory farming systems involve routine practices that many argue amount to cruelty. Moreover, allegations of abuse are commonplace within the industry.

Farmed animal images by Andrew Skowron

Land grabbing from wild animals and abusive practices towards farmed animals are just two of many issues with the industrialised food system.

Both arable and animal-based industrial agriculture are responsible for vast amounts of pollution, ranging from greenhouse gases to contamination of waterways. This is because the industrial food system relies heavily on inputs, such as fertilisers, pesticides, and, in the case of farmed animals, antibiotics, among other reasons.

Can anyone believe it is possible to lay down such a barrage of poisons on the surface of the earth without making it unfit for all life?

– Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring


Image by Trees ForTheFuture via Flickr 

Reporting on animal agriculture and food systems

Agricultural pollution has implications for the health of all lifeforms, including humans and – to return to where we started – wild animals.

Moreover, wild animals are also farmed, for food and other commodities. This comes with its own host of issues.

For all these reasons and more, the food system is facing a reckoning, much to the chagrin of those who benefit most from the status quo.

Therefore, its a critical time to be reporting on what the present – and future – holds for the 62% and farming practices overall.

Here are some examples of my reporting the various issues surrounding food systems and agriculture.