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
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.
Economic & Environmental issues
> Farmers under pressure to cut costs & supply cheap food to stay in business
> Have had to use intensive farming methods > has environmental impacts
> 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