Summary

The consumption of animal products is not necessary for humans. There is hardly any land in Bavaria that is not suitable for the cultivation of crops. In addition, the few alpine pastures are not necessary for food production if enormous areas are freed up by the elimination of animal husbandry. Animal agriculture is not a necessary component of a nutrient cycle. It is not sustainable, since it requires an enormous use of resources and at the same time brings different material cycles and ecosystems into imbalance through the emission of metabolic products. The negative effects include (i) unused carbon sinks due to land consumption, (ii) the high consumption of fresh water, (iii) the high use of energy-intensive chemical fertilizers, (iv) the nitrate contamination of groundwater, (v) the high emission of greenhouse gases, (vi) the acidification of ecosystems, (vii) the increase in particulate matter, (viii) the eutrophication of water bodies and (ix) the use of pesticides. Animal agriculture in Bavaria partially irreversibly disrupts a wide variety of biogeochemical cycles and thus contributes significantly to global warming and the collapse of biodiversity on land and in waters.

Due to high livestock densities and land consumption, animal agriculture is a major cause of zoonoses and pandemics. Furthermore, it requires a high use of antibiotics and thus promotes antibiotic resistance. Animal agriculture thus represents one of the greatest threats to global health.

Economically, agriculture plays only a minor role in Bavaria. Less than 2% of the workforce is employed in agriculture. Two thirds of the farms are part-time farms. Bavarian agriculture is only able to survive through subsidies. It plays an important role in food supply, but in its current form it causes enormous damage to the environment and to the health of people and animals.

 

Solutions

Leaving behind archaic, outdated traditions and changing to a purely plant-based agriculture is a logical consequence from an economic and ecological point of view and only in such a way can it be justified to future generations. In addition to the urgently required reduction of environmental pollution and the prevention of health hazards, this change can also lead to new and self-sustaining employment. The framework conditions for this change must be demanded by the representatives of interest from politics. Policymakers must create incentives for this change, especially by shifting subsidies. Lobbying associations and politicians must also educate consumers about the necessity of the change and highlight the benefits.

A change for farmers is already possible. Some Pioneer farms have already successfully completed the transition to biocyclic-vegan agriculture. There is also a certification body and more and more advisory services for transformations. Although the German Environmental Agency still describes vegan organic agriculture as a niche, it has recognized its advantages and certifies it as highly sustainable and with great potential ([43], p.36 -39).