Intensive rearing of domestic livestock

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Improving energy-conversion rates

> Factory farming

> Selective breeding - produce varieties that are more efficient at converting the food they eat into body mass

> Using hormones to in crease growth rates

Features of Intensive Rearing of domestic livestock:

> Efficient energy conversion - more energy passed along the food chain to humans as loss of energy is restricted

> Low cost - meat, eggs & milk can be produced more cheaply than by other methods

> Quality of food - argued that the taste of food produced by animals that are intensively reared is inferior to that of those that are not.

> Use of space - less land required for agriculture means more for natural habitats

> Safety - easier to prevent infections from being introduced from the outside / control & regulate

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Features of intensive rearing of domestic livestoc

> Disease - animals regularly given antibiotics being so many in such a small space means disease could spread rapidly

> Use of drugs - antibiotic resistance from over-use of antibiotics. Resistance passed onto bacteria that cause human diseases. Other drugs given to improve growth / reduce aggressive behaviour. These may alter flavour / pass into foods then humans affecting health

> Animal welfare - larger intensive farms have resources to maintain high level of animal welfare & are more easily regulated. Animals kept unnaturally - may cause stress > aggressiveness & harm towards others / themselves. Restricted movement - osteoporosis & joint pain. Well-being of animals often sacrificed for financial gain.

> Pollution - large concentrations of waste produced in small area > pollutes rivers/ground water. Dangerous / smelly pollutant gases. Larger units may have their own disposal facilities.

> Reduced genetic diversity - loss of genes that might have proved to be beneficial > due to SB

> Use of fossil fuels - heating the farms, production of materials for the building, production & transportation of animal feeds. The CO2 released increases GW.

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Economic & Environmental issues

Economic Issues

> Farmers under pressure to cut costs & supply cheap food to stay in business

> Have had to use intensive farming methods > has environmental impacts

Environmental Issues

> Food production has doubled in the UK over the past 40 years

> Achieved by use of improved genetic varieties of plant/animal species & greater use of fertilisers, pesticides, biotechnology and having larger farms.

> Main effect = diminished variety of habitats within ecosystems > reduced species diversity

> Financial incentives offered in the UK to encourage farmers to use conservation methods

> Conservation is essential in ensuring the long term prospects for food production.

> Food from conservation farms likely to be more expensive

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