Facts

the research

A TOXIC WASTE LOAD:  

US animal factories yield 100 times more waste than all US human sewage plants. 

● Human sewage is treated to kill pathogens but animal waste is not. Hog manure has 10-to-100 times more pathogens than human waste. 

● The law would never permit untreated human waste to be kept in vast “lagoons” or sprayed onto fields in the way that raw manure is applied. 

● The Eastern Shore of Chesapeake Bay produces 1,000,000 tons of chicken manure a year, enough to fill a large football stadium to the top row. 

A THREAT TO AIR AND WATER: 

● Raising cattle produces more greenhouse gases than cars, a UN report warns. 

● Manure-based emissions of methane and other CO2 containing gases contributed 7.4 percent (2 million tons) annually to total greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. 

● Agricultural waste is the top cause of well water contaminants in the US. At least 4.5 million Americans are exposed to dangerously high nitrate levels in their drinking water. 

Photo: Rick Dove

● A CDC study of well water in nine Midwestern states showed that 13 percent of the supply had nitrate levels above the EPA standard of 10miligrams per liter. 

● Waste lagoons do not destroy all pathogens: About 15% of viruses and 55% of bacteria survive and could reach groundwater supplies. 

● There is ample documentation of water pollution from runoff of animal waste. More than half of all US fish kills were attributed to livestock.
 

A THREAT TO HUMAN HEALTH: 

● Manure can contain deadly pathogens, antibiotics, drug-resistant bacteria, hormones, heavy metals, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, etc. that can seriously impact human health. 

● Odors from 170 separate chemicals can cause respiratory disease, diarrhea, depression, violent behavior, nausea, vomiting, headache, insomnia, coughing, appetite loss, and irritation to the eyes, nose and throat. 

● Animal factories can release nitrates into well water in levels that may cause diarrhea, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, spontaneous abortion and “blue-baby syndrome.” 

● Excess nitrate exposure in pregnant women may cause central nervous system problems in children, and even neural tube defects, which has been linked to autism. 

● Animal factories can help breed dangerous levels of organisms such as dangerous E-coli, salmonella, listeria, viruses, protozoa and worms. 

● Factory farmed animals often receive low dose antibiotics, creating bacterial resistance that is passed between bacteria and conferring resistance to drugs needed by humans. 

● One study found salmonella in 20% of hamburger tested, of which, 84% was resistant to at least one drug, and 53% resistant to three or more drugs. 

● Another study found airborne enterococci, staph, and strep bacteria with resistant genes: 98% were resistant to two or more antibiotics. 

● Helicobacter pylori bacteria, associated with gastric ulcers and possibly stomach cancer, has been found in swine lagoons. 

● 1-in-5 US pig farmers has methicillin- resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection, which kills more Americans than AIDS each year. 

● The National Pork Board found MRSA in 3% of pork samples tested. A family buying raw pork twice a week was bringing MRSA home three times a year. 

● The US still feeds cows to cows (a cause of mad cow) in three ways – In restaurant scraps, blood meal and chicken litter, which can have beef-containing feed pellets in it. 

R. Dove

A THREAT TO LOCAL COMMUNITIES: 

● Economic concentration of agricultural operations tends to remove a higher percentage of money from rural communities than when the industry is dominated by smaller farms. 

● Many studies have shown that social and economic well-being in small towns improve by increasing the number of farmers, not increasing the volume of commodity produced. 

● The agriculture sector boasts that it is so productive it only employs 2% of the population. For every job created by a hog factory, three local jobs are lost. 

● Every year, hog factories put almost 31,000 farmers out of business, out of their homes, and out of their communities. 

● In 1990, there were 670,350 family hog farms; in 1995, there were only 208,780, though hog production has increased.. 

● One poll said that 42% of rural respondents said a neighboring farm detracted from quality of life “a great deal” or “somewhat.” Odor was the main concern, followed by flies, manure run-off, noise, and dust. 

● Agribusiness leaders have political contacts and access to government uncharacteristic of the average citizen. 

● When individual concerns and complaints are taken to the state level they are often regarded as being scientifically unfounded and “emotional” in nature. 

● Quality of life is an issue. One study said that “highly cherished values of freedom and independence gives way to feelings of violation and infringement.” 

● Local redress can be restricted: 13 states have laws limiting disparaging speech about agriculture. 

● All 50 states have some type of “right-to-farm” rules that protect animal factories from zoning laws or lawsuits.