Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries

Agriculture

We are dependent upon agriculture for our lives and our civilization. At the same time, however, the modern agricultural industry is one of the gravest threats to humankind. It is killing us and our planet. Modern, commercial agriculture—largely due to its emphasis on animals(1)—is a major contributor to water depletion, pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions, and it is cruel on a monstrous scale.

The UN Report, Livestock’s Long Shadow–Environmental Issues and Options, highlights the environmental devastation caused by animal agriculture.

Livestock now use 30 per cent of the earth’s entire land surface, mostly permanent pasture but also including 33 per cent of the global arable land used to producing feed for livestock, the report notes. As forests are cleared to create new pastures, it is a major driver of deforestation, especially in Latin
America where, for example, some 70 per cent of former forests in the Amazon have been turned over to grazing.

At the same time herds cause wide-scale land degradation, with about 20 per cent of pastures considered degraded through overgrazing, compaction and erosion. This figure is even higher in the drylands where inappropriate policies and inadequate livestock management contribute to advancing desertification.

The livestock business is among the most damaging sectors to the earth’s increasingly scarce water resources, contributing among other things to water pollution from animal wastes, antibiotics and hormones, chemicals from tanneries, fertilizers and the pesticides used to spray feed crops.(2)

Mono-cropping, intensive animal agriculture, and dependence on non-organic fertilizers and biocides must be reduced and phased out, in favour of sustainable, organic farming practices. Doing so will reduce many of the contributors to modern diseases and poor health, and much of the environmental degradation that plagues land, air, and water.

The Animal Protection Party of Canada’s (APPC)  long-term goal is an end to all animal-based agriculture. It proposes to achieve this by:

  • phasing out all subsidies—direct and indirect—that support animal-based agriculture;
  • implementing programs and policies that encourage people to shift from animal-based foods to plant-based economy (3); and
  • subsidizing farmers to encourage them to cultivate crops using sustainable methods such as biocycle vegan agriculture (4).

Forestry

The hallmark of sustainable forestry, from a purely ecological perspective, is the extent to which forestry practices mimics natural patterns of disturbance and regeneration.  Sustainable forestry balances the needs of the environment, wildlife, and forest communities—supporting decent incomes while conserving our forests for future generations.

What is Sustainable Forestry?
Rainforest Alliance, July 28, 2016 (5)

APPC proposes a forestry regime that promotes sustainability, keeping large areas of forests intact and contiguous to ensure that wildlife is not unduly harmed by forestry practices. This would require a shift in forestry, mining, and other extractive industry practices that impact intact forests. In keeping with the notion of a steady-state economy, secure jobs, and sustainability, policies would be implemented to encourage creating finished products of high quality in Canada. This would create more, permanent, higher quality jobs than current extractive industries. 

APPC would phase in the following initiatives to achieve a sustainable forestry industry:

  • establish large, contiguous protected areas;
  • protect forests with high conservation values;
  • prohibit deforestation as a forestry practice;
  • establish sustainable forestry practices through forest management plans and ensure rigorous compliance with those plans;
  • recover degraded and deforested areas through tree planting programmes and other mitigation measures;
  • phase out the forestry industry as it becomes practicable; and
  • commit to protect 50% of natural land in Canada from development or resource extraction and 50% of the coastline.

Fisheries 

APPC would seek to phase out all commercial fisheries, including fish farms.History has shown that these fisheries are not sustainable and do severe damage to the marine and freshwater ecosystems far beyond target species. Moreover, they inflict enormous suffering and cruelty on animals who feel pain as acutely as we do. APPC would phase out sports fisheries, as well. This is a cruel sport that has no place in a modern nation.

The marine environment determines the Earth’s climate and ecology. Water covers over 70% of the Earth—whither the oceans, so go we. We live on Planet Water, not Planet Earth. It’s impossible to have a robust, sustainable environment on the land where we, humans, mostly live if the oceans are dead and dying—and they are dying, because of us. For the oceans to sustain all life on this planet—including ours, they need bountiful, diverse populations of marine life from single-cell organisms to great whales, and we’re killing all of them. One of the major ‘murder’ weapons humans use is commercial fisheries.

Commercial fishing is an entrenched part of many human cultures and economies, but they must be phased out, the more quickly, the better. Phasing out commercial fisheries will be politically, culturally, and economically challenging. However, we will either phase them out responsibly, sparing people extreme impacts, or the fisheries will continue to crash precipitously causing greater human disruption and extreme environmental destruction.

Oceans of the world may be fishless by 2048.

In order to meet the rising global demand for fish and seafood, the fishing industry has been overfishing in increasingly larger areas of the oceans. Overfishing occurs when fish populations are reduced to below dangerously low levels, resulting in reduced growth, resource depletion, and sometimes unsustainable population sizes. This practice has been linked to the ruin of several ocean ecosystems as well as reduced catches for many fishing companies. This is particularly true in the North Sea, the East China Sea, and the Grand Banks of Newfoundland…

Additional instance of overfishing have been recorded in other places around the world. For example, the anchovy population off the coast of Peru was nearly wiped out in the 1970s. The number of fish was so greatly reduced that the fishing catch went from 10.2 million metric tons in 1971 to only 4 million metric tons around 5 years later. Bodies of freshwater are not exempt from overfishing. During the 1980s, the blue walleye population in the Great Lakes of North America was fished to extinction. A report published by the Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that 70% of the global fish population has been completely depleted.

What is the Environmental Impact of the Fishing Industry? (6)
World Atlas, 25 April, 2017

Footnotes
  1. Hannah Richie, Max Rozer; Our World in Data: Meat and Seafood Production & Consumption, August 2017 https://ourworldindata.org/meat-and-seafood-production-consumption
  2. What is Sustainable Forestry?Rainforest Alliance, July 28, 2016 https://www.rainforest-alliance.org/articles/what-is-sustainable-forestry
  3. Hannah Richie, Max Rozer; Our World in Data: Meat and Seafood Production & Consumption,
    August 2017 https://ourworldindata.org/meat-and-seafood-production-consumption
  4. Biocyclic Vegan Agriculture http://www.biocyclic-vegan.org/
  5. What is Sustainable Forestry? Rainforest Alliance, July 28, 2016 https://www.rainforest-alliance.org/articles/what-is-sustainable-forestry
  6. World Atlas, What is the Environmental Impact of the Fishing Industry? 25 April, 2017; https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/what-is-the-environmental-impact-of-the-fishing-industry.html