The Instigator
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The Contender
Con (against)
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Animal Agriculture is currently the greatest threat to our species survival

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/25/2015 Category: Science
Updated: 10 months ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 367 times Debate No: 83049
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (1)
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My argument is that animal agriculture and its' effect on our environment is currently our species' greatest threat.

1st round - The acceptance of the debate.
2nd round - Factual information supporting your stance.
3rd round - Rebuttals and conclusions.

I welcome any challenger and wish you the best of luck!


I accept the debate terms and I await Pro's arguments in the next round. I wish pro good luck.
Debate Round No. 1


I would like to start off by saying thank you to Con for the challenge, I look forward to an educated debate!

Just to start off, I'd like to look at current issues that could endanger our species. Obviously these issues are not part of the argument, they are simply being stated to compare the intensity of the situations compared to animal agriculture and its' effects:

War - The current danger here is ISIS and they are actually causing the world to band together, thus the chance of a serious nuclear war stemming from it is very slim.

Disease - While this is always a possibility, there is nothing currently that could pose an endangering type threat [1].

Mother Nature - Storms becoming more frequent and more intense, changing our landscape and living patterns. Definitely a threat, but not one that would endanger our species.

Meteors - Nothing as of yet that could pose any serious threats [2].

Animal Agriculture - 3/4 of the world"s fisheries are exploited or depleted [4]. Animal agriculture is responsible for 18% of the total release of greenhouse gases world-wide (this is more than all the cars, trucks, planes, and ships in the world combined) [3]. Animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution, and habitat destruction [4].

With that in mind, let's get on to more facts about greenhouse gases and animal agriculture.

As greenhouse gas emissions from human activities increase (animal agriculture being one), they build up in the atmosphere and warm the climate, leading to many other changes around the world"in the atmosphere, on land, and in the oceans [7].

Livestock and their byproducts account for at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, or 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions [4]. Methane (a greenhouse gas), is 25-100 times more destructive than CO2 on a 20 year time frame [4]. Livestock is responsible for 65% of all human-related emissions of nitrous oxide " a greenhouse gas with 296 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide, and which stays in the atmosphere for 150 years [7][4]. Fracking (hydraulic fracturing) water use ranges from 70-140 billion gallons annually compared to animal agriculture water consumption which ranges from 34-76 trillion gallons annually [4]. Livestock covers 45% of the earth"s total land [4] and it continues to grow, causing mass amounts of deforestation, thus enhancing the ability of greenhouse gases.

Not only does livestock undeniably affect the air in our atmosphere and consume mass amounts of resources, it also plays a huge role in polluting the nearby waters that eventually lead to the oceans and cause dead zones.

- Dead zones are hypoxic (low-oxygen) areas in the world's oceans and large lakes, caused by "excessive nutrient pollution from human activities coupled with other factors that deplete the oxygen required to support most marine life in bottom and near-bottom water. (NOAA)

Unless humans act now, seafood may disappear by 2048 [8]. 3/4 of the world"s fisheries are exploited or depleted [4].

With these types of numbers, could we deny that these affects are going to have a massive impact on life as we know it within the next century?

Due to the increase of greenhouse gases, which cause global warming & climate change, we are looking at a sea level rise of about 2.5-6.5ft by 2100, enough to swamp many of the cities along the U.S. East Coast [9]. Not to mention many other areas that are near or below sea level.

Taking into account all of these startling facts, one could see how animal agriculture would have devastating effects on hundreds/thousands of species on the planet, thus effecting the human race as well.

Looking at all of these effects that animal agriculture has on the environment should at least give you insight to the immediate dangers it poses. If we don't act on this soon i.e. reduce our consumption of animal products, we could see life altering affects begin to occur within our lifetime.

Looking forward to your response!




Animal agriculture is an activity carried out by humans for thousands of years. It is true the extent of animal agriculture is increasing but this is a direct consequence of the rapid increase in the world's population. Blaming the increases in emissions on animal agriculture skirts round the real issue. The continued increases in the world's population to over eight billion people. Animal agriculture was carried out without causing global warming or climate change until the last one hundred years when rapid human population increases necessitated an increased utilization of resources and the destruction of the natural environment and many ecosystems. The major advances in technology the human race has undertaken has resulted in high levels of emissions from power stations, cars, aeroplanes, industry and many other relatively modern activities.

Animal agriculture has long been a part of humanities existence and it is an important part of a human's natural diet to eat meat. The problem lies with the human population being too high. If less humans were on the planet all types of emissions released would reduce. Animal agriculture is part of a wide range of causes for emissions and ending the farming of animals would not by itself prevent global warming. It is one factor amongst many. Agriculture, forestry and other land use is responsible for 24% of all emissions. This is all types of agriculture considered and includes non animal agriculture such asgrowing crops directly for human consumption. Ultimately humans need to eat to survive so it is unrealistic to make major reductions to this figure unless the world's population decreases. Electricity and heat production is actually a bigger contributer to global emissions at 25%, while industry accounts for 21% of the total and transportation 14% of total emissions.

Therefore on this evidence if you look at one factor in amongst the many causes of emissions reduction it is heat and energy production that is causing the most emissions and therefore is posing the biggest problem. However the key thing to consider is that all of the factors contributing towards human influenced climatic change are the result of the major increase of the human population. It is the size of the human population that means so much food, energy, heat, industry and transportation is needed. The continued increases in the human population is causing climate change not animal agriculture specifically. The link between animal agriculture carried out on the planet and the amount of humans on the planet is very clear. More humans need more animals. The world's population has increased from 1. 6 billion people in 1900 to 7. 3 billion people today. This growth in the population is clearly unsustainable and an extra 150, 000 people are on our planet each day. These people are the root cause of climate change. Animal agriculture is merely an essential part of providing food for humans to eat. Essential for their survival.

The biggest threat to the survival of humanity is not Global warming or one of its many causes animal agriculture. Despite obviously being a grave danger and likely to cause significant effects in some areas of the world and leading to many potential disasters and deaths no evidence exists to suggest global warming will entirely emiminate the entire human population of the earth. Yes rising sea levels will flood cities, hurricanes will kill people but this will not cause the human race to die out. Some areas of the planet such as Russia and Canada will actually most likely benefit from global warming and will provide a more habitable environment to humans then they do today. Some humans will survive on earth regardless of the severity of climate change so it does not threaten to eliminate the species.

Ultimately threats such as meteorite strike, black holes, unknown interstellar events and massive volcanic activity on planet earth are a much greater threat to the survival of humanity. Despite being unlikely and rare these events are possible. Meteorites have caused numerous mass extinctions throughout the history of earth. It is well known that not all space objects are known about and an undetected object could potentially be on course for a collision with earth relatively soon. It is also impossible to prevent a metiorite strike with current technology even if humanity knew of the likelihood of an imminent collision.

Many other major threats to humanity exist. The potential for an alien invasion although seemingly science fiction could although unlikely cause the extinction of humanity. Aliens could be worried by our recent development or hear some of the communication we have sent and send a super advanced army to take control of earth and it's resources and emiminate a potential rival civililized species before it developed space travel.

Global pandemics both natural and man made are a huge threat. A man made disease has the potential to make humanity become extinct. Nuclear war and nuclear terrorism are also major risks. A huge nuclear war between many world powers could trigger a nuclear winter that prevents plant growth due to the effects of nuclear weapons on the earths atmosphere causing a mass starvation of humanity and all of the planet's animals. Ultra intelligent AI is also a danger that could potentially threaten humans in the near future if development of the technology goes wrong or is undertaken by criminals. Molecular Nanotechnology Weapons are a potentially dangerous future threat to humanity that currently is difficult to accurately predict. A study in 2008 found these risks combined mean a 19% chance of the extinction of humans by the year 2100. Global warming and climate change did not make the top 10 potential causes of an extinction. The following link details the probability of various extinction possibilities with global warming considered a minor issue.

In the long term the eventual expansion of the sun into a red giant will make earth uninhabitable for humans and in around four billion years time humans will need to develop space travel technology enabling them to leave the solar system and the ever more dangerous sun in order to survive.

Ultimately animal agriculture can not in any way cause the extinction of humanity. It represents no threat to our survival as a species. The many potential threats I have listed and discussed although unlikely do actually pose a threat to the survival of the human species.
Debate Round No. 2


mvig forfeited this round.


beng100 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by mvig 11 months ago
Sorry about missing the last round. I was tied up in holiday activities. I just wanted to point out that Con did not post any factual evidence except that the population is growing. That is a constant we cannot change but the overuse of resources for animal agriculture is something we could change. Cons lack of evidence and intellectual reasoning should be noticeable. If we continue on the path of consumption we are on, we will be doomed and in shortage of many important resources such as water within the next 30-75 years.
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