You can stop factory farming

By Weekender, NEPAs
20 October 2010

Factory Farming is the term used to describe an area that raises livestock in confinement for mass production and is basically operated like a factory. The point of these so-called farms is to produce as much product as possible all while running the production at a low cost. What is mainly purchased and consumed from this industry are eggs, milk and meat.

Not every factory farm is ran the same, but they all use antibiotics and pesticides to stop the spread of disease due to their unsanitary and crowded conditions. There are many concerns and debates on the risks of factory farming around the world. Although every factory farm might not operate exactly the same, they each bring up several issues that should be on everyone’s mind.

There has been a constant debate on whether or not this is an issue of ethics because of the inhumane living conditions for the animals. This leads into the animals’ own health becoming a concern. There is also the issue that factory farms have a negative impact on our own health. The other issue that some people may not even be aware of, and will be the issue I focus on, is the impact these farms have on our environment.

Factory farms are one of the most toxic types of large businesses that exist. The amount of animal waste from these farms pollutes not only our water and soil but they also pollute the air. Anyone that lives near a factory farm knows that the air smells of manure and also contains high levels of ammonia and methane gases. Animal wastes contain parasites, viruses and bacteria that can run off and contaminate drinking water.

According to The Natural Resources Defense Council, in May 2000, six people died and more than 1,300 cases of gastroenteritis were reported from E. coli contaminating drinking water. The health authorities in Ontario, Canada, where this happened, said that it was most likely from a cattle manure runoff.

The NRDC also states that there is an area in the Gulf of Mexico referred to as a “dead zone” because there is not enough oxygen to support aquatic life. This “dead zone” is from animal waste that causes algal blooms that use up all the oxygen in the water.

Other environmental impacts from factory farming include deforestation to grow animal feed. The majority of grain harvested in the U.S. is fed to farm animals rather than people

With these factory farms almost taking over the dairy and meat industry it seems like there isn’t much we can do. The No. 1 thing we can start to do to help put a stop to the factory farming system is to start buying food from smaller, local farms. As consumers we have the power to end the factory farming and should stop giving money to these enterprises.