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.
● 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.
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.
● 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.
● 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.
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.