Today’s NYT does a good job of describing the environmental and human health crisis wrought by CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding Operations). It does a less good job of describing the horrendous conditions imposed on the animals thus confined. Still, a lot of tragedy gets captured in this little vignette:
In June, Mr. Natzke explained to visiting kindergarteners that his cows produced 1.5 million gallons of manure a month. The dairy owns 1,000 acres and rents another 1,800 acres to dispose of that waste and grow crops to feed the cows.
“Where does the poop go?” one boy asked. “And what happens to the cow when it gets old?”
“The waste helps grow food,” Mr. Natzke replied. “And that’s what the cow becomes, too.”
The thrust of the article concerns the lack of regulations controlling CAFO emissions as well as the ways that Big Ag squashes all attempts to change the status quo. Consider this: Five thousand pigs produce as much raw sewage as a town of 20,000 people. That statistic alone makes factory farming environmentally problematic and in need of regulatory oversight. But there’s more.
Pig waste is more concentrated than human waste and tends to contain both pathogens and antibiotics. Yet, waste from pigs does not go to a sewage treatment facility; it tends to go straight on to the ground, where it eventually makes its way into the groundwater and into the air, causing respiratory problems, antibiotic resistance, and more. Habitat loss and degradation, erosion, water depletion, pollution and salinization, agrochemical contamination, the above-mentioned animal waste and air pollution are also serious and growing CAFO-related problems. And still, industrial agriculture remains virtually unregulated.
Filed under: animal law, animal welfare, environmental law, factory farms | Tagged: animal abuse, animal cruelty, animal law, animal suffering, animal welfare, CAFOS, Clean Water Act, environmental advocacy, environmental law, environmentalism, factory farms, farmed animals, industrial farming, pollution, water pollution | 3 Comments »