China: Animals and the Environment

China: Animals and the Environment

Pigs awaiting transport in Jiangxi, China (taken during shooting for BG's short documentary, "What's for Dinner?"

The 2011 Asia for Animals conference is about to begin in Chengdu, China. It features panels on a range of topics, including one on factory farming. Almost at the same time, China’s Environment Ministry released its 2010 report. In the words of Li Ganjie, the deputy environment minister, the situation for the environment in China is “very grave.” Jonathan Watts in the UK Guardian read the report and assigned his own grades to a number of the ecological challenges — heavy metals, water quality, biodiversity, and agriculture the report surveyed. Here’s what the report, and Watts, had to say about agriculture, including animal ag (it’s pungent….):


“There are increasing rural environmental problems with relatively big emissions of pollutants from agricultural sources…The pollution of livestock and poultry farms has not been under effective control.”

[Watts] Interpretation: The countryside is at risk of becoming a toilet with 243m tonnes of faeces and 163m tonnes of urine from livestock, according to the latest survey. And that is not even counting the nasty chemical cocktail of pesticides, herbicides, nitrogen fertilizer and growth stimulants.

Grade: E- A bad problem is getting worse.

Asia for Animals 2011 couldn’t have come at a better time.