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What is intensive rearing of livestock?
Farming practices which increase the efficiency of energy transfer through a food chain by reducing energy losses between trophic levels
When are intensively reared livestock slaughtered?
When they are young and growth rates are highest
What are intensively reared livestock fed on?
Concentrates which are very digestible, reducing energy lost in faeces
How is movement of intensively reared livestock controlled?
- Movement is restricted with animals kept in pens
- Reduces energy lost as heat through muscle contractions
How is the environment controlled for intensively reared livestock?
- Environment is kept warm
- Reduces energy lost as heat
How are growth rates affected for intensively reared livestock?
Growth hormones are used to increase growth rates
How is breeding controlled for intensively reared livestock?
- Selective breeding is implemented
- Varieties are produced that convert more food to biomass
What are the advantages of intensive rearing?
- Less energy is lost so more is passes to humans in the food chain
- Food is cheeper due to reduced energy losses
- Less land is taken up for pasture meaning there is less deforestation and more biodiversity
What are the disadvantages of intensive rearing?
- Animals are raised in unnatural conditions which can cause stress, discomfort and aggressive behaviour
- Close proximity of animals means faster spread of pathogens
- More energy from fossil fuels is required in order for pens to be heated, increasing global warming
- Selective breeding leads to a lack of genetic variation
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