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Published on Mar 3, 2010
India is rapidly embracing Western methods of industrial animal agriculture. To date it has the world's largest dairy herd, is the world's third largest producer of eggs, and is the sixth largest producer of poultry meat. The expansion of India's animal products sector is already having global impacts, including on the crucial challenge of climate change. Vast amounts of carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere when land is cleared to grow feed crops, on which fossil-fuel based fertilizers and pesticides are used. The animals themselves are large emitters of greenhouse gases, and India's cattle herd is the largest global livestock source of methane; a greenhouse gas 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. As India produces more and more animal products, the long term viability of such actions is an open question, particularly as climate change gathers pace.