When Joe Biden took office, he established a strict climate change prevention plan, which will influence profitable industries. For example, the agricultural sector has longstanding impacts on environmental degradation. Unsustainable practices and inefficient regulations fuel adverse ecological and human health effects.
The administration plans on achieving carbon neutrality and creating sustainable jobs in part by reforming the meat industry. Government officials are making new regulations and enforcing old ones, enhancing environmental conservation efforts. After instilling effective change, professionals can limit many of the industry’s ecological challenges.
Researchers predict the U.S. will produce 27.54 billion pounds of beef this year. The heightened demand for farm animals is limiting the agricultural industry’s sustainability. Producing meat, especially beef, creates potent greenhouse gas emissions.
Cows release methane through their life processes. This pollutant is 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide, making it a significant climate change challenge. When methane invades the atmosphere, it powers the enhanced greenhouse effect.
Earth uses a natural temperature control process, achieving life-sufficient surface temperatures. It absorbs solar radiation, creates heat, warms its surface, and shrugs off extra energy. When methane enters the atmosphere, it alters the process.
Methane is highly effective at retaining heat from solar radiation. It traps excess heat in the atmosphere for extended periods. Over time, the emissions raise Earth’s temperature, causing the climate to change.
Greenhouse gas emissions also cause adverse health effects on agricultural employees. Concentrated air pollution increases one’s risk of lung cancer and other fatal illnesses. It also causes wheezing, chest pain, asthma attacks, and more.
Inadequate regulations in meat production and manufacturing facilities also compromise workers’ health. Many employees in the industry experience injuries on the job from insufficient training or supervision. Workers at a Smithfield Foods meatpacking plant also experienced sexual harassment.
The industry is male-dominant and sexual harassment frequently occurs, causing mental health struggles. Minority workers make up nearly 61% of meatpacking plant staff. They experience health issues and other degrading effects on the job.
The Biden Administration evaluated the environmental and human health issues associated with the meat industry and developed effective regulations. Establishing change across the meat industry and its support industries can help the U.S. achieve its carbon neutrality goals and increase worker protections.
Packers and Stockyards Act
President Biden plans on issuing stronger regulations through the Packers and Stockyards Act to create fair wages and reduce mistreatment. The act can protect workers from injustice, discrimination, and racism in the industry. It may also create fair competition between companies, limiting the monopolization of big meat companies.
Ensuring Worker Safety
During the pandemic, professionals identified challenges in OSHA’s meatpacking reports. The poor ventilation and workers’ close proximity in facilities caused 239 COVID-related deaths. President Biden plans on increasing health regulations and tracking inspections to improve worker safety.
Regulating and Reducing Methane Emissions
There are nearly 1,875 parts per billion (ppb) of methane in the atmosphere today. Most of the emissions come from the agricultural industry. Biden plans on reaching carbon-neutrality by regulating greenhouse gases.
Companies can reduce emissions by adopting pollution-capturing technologies. They can also develop meat alternatives, diversifying the market’s consumption patterns
Increasing American Employment Rates
The administration also plans on initiating stricter labeling guidelines. Previously, companies could label meat as a “Product of the U.S.A.” if they processed it in America. Government officials are altering the regulations, ensuring the meat development and processing occurs within the country.
The regulations can increase American employment rates by reducing outsourcing. McDonald’s buys meat from foreign countries like New Zealand, Australia, and Canada. It processes the material in the U.S., helping the company label their patties as “products of U.S.A.”
If large corporations, like McDonald’s, purchase meat from the States, they could significantly increase agricultural employment levels. Individuals can help instill change in the industry by amplifying their voices.
Voting for Change
Individuals can vote for better meat industry regulations by choosing environmentally educated government representatives. They may also vote with their dollars by supporting meat companies’ ethical practices. Increasing the market’s demand for sustainable products and better protection for workers can successfully promote change.