Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Factory Farming: Bad for People, Planet and Economy

Food
Factory Farming: Bad for People, Planet and Economy

Factory farms, where large numbers of livestock are raised indoors in conditions intended to maximize production at minimal cost, affect all of us.

Huge meat companies have steadily driven down the prices farmers receive for the livestock they raise, forcing farmers to get big or get out. Small farms have been replaced by factory farms that pollute nearby air and water, undermine rural economies and reduce the quality of life for neighbors.

 The meat industry tells consumers that factory farms are modern, efficient and produce cheap food. But factory farms leave consumers with fewer choices and make them pay more for meat, poultry and dairy products, while farmers get paid less.

Factory farms increase the risk of pathogens like E. coli and salmonella that cause food-borne illness in people. And bad practices on even a few factory farms can end up on everyone’s plate.

Food-borne illness isn’t the only health threat from factory farms. Overuse of antibiotics can fuel the growth of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, the use of arsenic and growth hormones can increase the risk of cancer in people and crowded conditions can be a breeding ground for disease.

Chickens and hogs on factory farms have no access to the outdoors, fresh air or natural light. Cattle on factory farms do not graze on pasture. And the pressure put on animals to grow quicker and produce more meat or milk results in frequent health problems.

An interactive Factory Farm Map, a project of Food & Water Watch, gives the details on livestock operations down to the county level. Click on a state in the map and choose a county to learn the number of animals—whether cattle, dairy, hogs, broilers or layers—and the average per site over several years. The map has a key to show where the animal density levels are highest and you can filter the information for types of livestock. Below the map, you can choose a state for charts, rankings and facts specific to that area.

A dementia patient with her guide spends the day at an alpaca farm as therapy in the village of Krukow on April 20, 2017 near Geesthacht, Germany. Morris MacMatzen / Getty Images

Therapeutic riding as occupational therapy, dogs visiting children with learning disabilities in school or hens spending time with seniors in elderly homes – so called animal-assisted interventions are manifold.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' "Doomsday Clock" — an estimate of how close humanity is to the apocalypse — remains at 100 seconds to zero for 2021. Eva Hambach / AFP / Getty Images

By Brett Wilkins

One hundred seconds to midnight. That's how close humanity is to the apocalypse, and it's as close as the world has ever been, according to Wednesday's annual announcement from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a group that has been running its "Doomsday Clock" since the early years of the nuclear age in 1947.

Read More Show Less

Trending

The 13th North Atlantic right whale calf with their mother off Wassaw Island, Georgia on Jan. 19, 2010. @GeorgiaWild, under NOAA permit #20556

North Atlantic right whales are in serious trouble, but there is hope. A total of 14 new calves of the extremely endangered species have been spotted this winter between Florida and North Carolina.

Read More Show Less
There are new lifestyle "medicines" that are free that doctors could be prescribing for all their patients. Marko Geber / Getty Images

By Yoram Vodovotz and Michael Parkinson

The majority of Americans are stressed, sleep-deprived and overweight and suffer from largely preventable lifestyle diseases such as heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. Being overweight or obese contributes to the 50% of adults who suffer high blood pressure, 10% with diabetes and additional 35% with pre-diabetes. And the costs are unaffordable and growing. About 90% of the nearly $4 trillion Americans spend annually for health care in the U.S. is for chronic diseases and mental health conditions. But there are new lifestyle "medicines" that are free that doctors could be prescribing for all their patients.

Read More Show Less
Candles spell out, "Fight for 1 point 5" in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany on Dec. 11, 2020, in reference to 1.5°C of Earth's warming. The event was organized by the Fridays for Future climate movement. Sean Gallup / Getty Images

Taking an unconventional approach to conduct the largest-ever poll on climate change, the United Nations' Development Program and the University of Oxford surveyed 1.2 million people across 50 countries from October to December of 2020 through ads distributed in mobile gaming apps.

Read More Show Less