Quantcast
Food

Interactive Map Tracks Factory Farm Operations in Michigan

Today's large-scale industrial agriculture relies heavily on Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) that house large numbers of livestock in cramped quarters. As has been well documented, violations and questionable—even illegal—practices seem to run rampant on factory farms, the consequences of which have a negative impact on public health and the environment.

Center for Food Safety (CFS) has worked for years to bring these issues to light and this week they released a digital map of the CAFOs in the state of Michigan. According to CFS, the map—which will serve as a model for other states—includes the location and size of animal factories, as well as environmental violations, type of manure storage, nearby rivers and waterways, nearby schools, federal subsidies and other information.

Click on the map to access the interactive feature.

“This map helps put these factories into the context of the communities they impact,” said Paige Tomaselli, senior attorney for CFS. “The industrial meat industry is trying to keep consumers in the dark, but these massive operations have significant impacts on the environment and overall health of a community. This map is designed to be a tool to help consumers and residents understand how these animal factories impact their lives.” 

Massive amounts of excrement produced in these facilities have been found to contaminate drinking water and cause air pollution. Manure decomposition produces more than 160 gases—including pollutants and irritants like hydrogen sulfide, ammonia, carbon dioxide, methane and carbon monoxide. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognize that "the closer children live to a CAFO, the greater the risk of asthma symptoms," yet CAFO air emissions are largely unregulated.

Nitrogen and ammonia from excrement put both the environment and human health at risk. CFS points out that nitrogen can lead to blue baby syndrome (a serious heart condition in newborn babies), while other bacteria and viruses can cause public health crises. It is estimated that more than one million Americans access groundwater that is moderately to severely contaminated by nitrogen.

“We hope that this new tool allows more communities who have been adversely impacted by these behemoth operations to take a stand. Access to accurate information is a vital first step,” said Tomaselli.

CAFO water pollution can be toxic to fish and other wildlife. In the Gulf of Mexico, nutrient-rich water from the Mississippi River basin empties into the Gulf and causes toxic algal blooms. Nutrients, like nitrogen and phosphorus, are used to fertilize gardens and crops, but create aquatic "deadzones," in which excess nutrients choke out oxygen in the water and create an environment that does not support aquatic life. Last year the deadzone covered 5,840 square miles—an area the size of Connecticut.

--------

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

FDA Regulation of Antibiotic Use on Factory Farms Proves Worthless

Colorado Governor Under Fire for Backing Controversial Factory Farms

Too Big to Fail Organic? Horizon Factory Farm Accused of Skirting Laws

--------

Show Comments ()
Sponsored
Rice University marine biologist Adrienne Correa takes samples at a reef in Flower Garden Banks. Jesse Cancelmo / Rice University

Hurricane Harvey Runoff Threatens Coral Reefs

Hurricane Harvey's record rains didn't just unleash a torrent of floodwaters into the Gulf of Mexico—this freshwater could be harming coral reefs which require saltwater to live, according to new research.

After Harvey dumped more than 13 trillion gallons of rain over southeast Texas, researchers detected a 10 percent drop in salinity at the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, located 100 miles off the coast of Galveston, Texas.

Keep reading... Show less

Pruitt Wants to Make the EPA Less Accountable to the Public

When the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) breaks the law by missing deadlines, allowing polluters to violate regulations that protect our health and environment, one way the public holds it accountable is by taking the agency to court. Scott Pruitt and his corporate polluter allies see this as a problem, so Monday, the administrator moved to curtail the agency's practice of settling lawsuits with outside groups, making it easier to skirt the law.

"Pruitt's doing nothing more than posturing about a nonexistent problem and political fiction," John Walke, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council's Climate and Clean Air program said in reaction. "His targeting of legal settlements, especially where EPA has no defense to breaking the law, will just allow violations to persist, along with harms to Americans."

Keep reading... Show less
Oil on the surface of the Gulf of Mexico after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster. Julie Dermansky

Nearly 400,000 Gallons of Oil Spews Into Gulf of Mexico, Could Be Largest Spill Since Deepwater Horizon

Last week, a pipe owned by offshore oil and gas operator LLOG Exploration Company, LLC spilled up to 393,000 gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, reminding many observers of the Deepwater Horizon explosion seven years ago that spewed approximately 210 million gallons of crude into familiar territory.

Now, a report from Bloomberg suggests that the LLOG spill could be the largest in the U.S. since the 2010 BP blowout, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).

Keep reading... Show less
Shutterstock

Big Food Is Worried About Millennials Avoiding Animal Products

By Nathan Runkle

Hundreds of leaders from fast-food chains, marketing agencies and poultry production companies recently gathered in North Carolina for the 2017 Chicken Marketing Summit to play golf and figure out how to make you eat more animals.

One session focused on marketing chicken to millennials. Richard Kottmeyer, a senior managing partner at Fork to Farm Advisory Services, explained to the crowd that millennials are "lost" and need to be "inspired and coached." His reasoning? Because there are now "58 ways to gender identify on Facebook." Also, because most millennial women take nude selfies, the chicken industry needs to be just as "naked" and transparent.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

Strange Days: Ex-Hurricane Ophelia Batters Ireland Under Orange Skies

By Dr. Jeff Masters and Bob Henson

Ex-Hurricane Ophelia hit Ireland hard with full hurricane-like fury on Monday, bringing powerful winds that caused widespread damage and power outages. At least two deaths have been reported from trees falling on cars, and The Irish Times said at least 360,000 ESB Networks customers lost power in Ireland because of the storm.

Keep reading... Show less
GMO
PBouman / Shutterstock

EPA Limits Use of Problematic Herbicide Dicamba—But Is That Enough?

By Dan Nosowitz

Dicamba has been in use as a local pesticide for decades, but it's only recently that Monsanto has taken to using it in big, new ways. The past two years have seen the rollout of dicamba-resistant seed for soybean and cotton, as well as a new way to apply it: broad spraying.

But dicamba, it turns out, has a tendency to vaporize and drift with the wind, and it if lands on a farm that hasn't planted Monsanto's dicamba-resistant seed, the pesticide will stunt and kill crops in a very distinctive way, with a telltale cupping and curling of leaves, as seen above. Drift from dicamba has affected millions of acres of crops, prompting multiple states to issue temporary bans on the pesticide. Farmers have been taking sides, either pro-dicamba or anti, and at least one farmer has been killed in a dispute over its use.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Runoff from a farm field in Iowa during a rain storm. Lynn Betts / U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service

Drinking Water for Millions in Rural America Contaminated With Suspected Carcinogen

Drinking water supplies for millions of Americans in farm country are contaminated with a suspected cancer-causing chemical from fertilizer, according to a new report by the Environmental Working Group.

The contaminant is nitrate, which gets into drinking water sources when chemical fertilizer or manure runs off poorly protected farm fields. Nitrate contaminates drinking water for more than 15 million people in 49 states, but the highest levels are found in small towns surrounded by row-crop agriculture. Major farm states where the most people are at risk include California, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin and Kansas.

Keep reading... Show less
www.youtube.com

Trump's Approval Rating on Hurricane Response Sinks 20 Points After Puerto Rico

President Trump's approval rating for overseeing the federal government's response to hurricanes fell by 20 points after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, a CNN poll conducted by SSRS revealed.

Trump's approval rating for responding to hurricanes Harvey and Irma stood at 64 percent in mid-September. Just a month later, the rating dropped to 44 percent.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

Get EcoWatch in your inbox