Cattle grazing in a dry and fire-scorched landscape near Corryong

State of the Environment Report: Animal Agriculture a key driver of deforestation and wildlife habitat loss


Agricultural production accounts for over half of Australia’s total land mass. A shocking 86% of that is for animal agriculture.

Image credit: We Animals Media

The State of the Environment report made headlines last week with experts sounding the alarm on Australia's rapidly deteriorating environment.

This report starkly shows the animal agriculture industry is a primary driver of deforestation, leading to critical habitat loss for Australian wild animals including our beloved koalas. Animal agriculture in its current form is not sustainable.

While many people are aware of the animal cruelty associated with intensive animal agriculture, the environmental impacts of this industry are often not as well known. However, this report made clear that large amounts of land have been cleared to graze cattle and other farmed animals.  While the meat from animals farmed in Australia mostly is exported offshore, the environmental harm is felt locally with critical habitat loss and an increase in natural disasters. Should our native wildlife continue to pay the price so Americans can have cheap beef burgers?

We welcome the announcement that the Government will reform the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. However, we need to ensure that land clearing for agricultural purposes is correctly referred for review under the EPBC Act, as previous clearing has not been correctly considered under the legislation. It’s critical we have a clear measure of the impact of animal agriculture on biodiversity and the broader environment.

The uncomfortable truth for many Australians is that we simply cannot afford to continue farming animals at the rate we currently do. Intensive animal agriculture leads to animal suffering and significant environmental harm. These findings present us all with an opportunity to re-consider our approach to farming. We need a new system that relies less on animals, and is both more humane and sustainable.

Intensive animal agriculture leads to animal suffering and significant environmental harm.

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