UK journalist George Monbiot has written about animals and animal agriculture on many occasions in his career. He’s also an environmentalist; he loves wild places and creatures. But this has sometimes walked him down the garden path to some dodgy conclusions; because the interests of animals and the wider environment are not always one and the same. But he’s always worth reading and his most recent article “Goodbye and good riddence … to livestock farming” gets it right.
Intensive animal production is hell on earth for animals, but is far more eco-friendly than it’s extensive alternative, assuming you want to produce the same amount of animal products. All the so-called “greenies” who want to raise animals outside under the sun before slaughter have some laudable feelings towards animals, but these extensive systems are a nightmare for wildlife and biodiversity. Extensive farming isn’t green, despite being Green. If you care about animals then extensive farming is an improvement over factory farming, but if you care about the environment, then it’s the other way around.