"Industrial meat production is not only responsible for precarious working conditions, it also pushes people off their land, leads to deforestation, biodiversity loss and the use of pesticides — and is also one of the main drivers of the climate crisis."
Such were the words of Barbara Unmüssig of green think tank, the Heinrich Böll Foundation, at the Berlin presentation of the so-called "Meat Atlas 2021."
Germany Plays Leading Role in the Meat Industry<p><span>Olaf Bandt, chairman of BUND, says policymakers must take account of society's desire to </span><a href="https://www.dw.com/en/can-you-be-a-good-christian-and-eat-meat/a-55410685" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">restructure the sector</a><span>. "This requires far-reaching political realignment of agricultural policy," he said. "But there can be no agricultural transition without a food transition."</span></p><p>Bandt describes Germany as a key player in the production of pork and milk, with a 20% share of the EU market. </p><p>"Huge amounts of meat are exported," he said, adding that this reliance on international markets is having a detrimental effect on the environment, livestock and farms. "More and more animals live on ever fewer farms, further exacerbating the pollution of groundwater in those regions." </p>
Meat Devours Rainforest<p>Global population and economic growth are the drivers behind increasing demand for meat. In 1960, the planet was home to just 3 billion people and, according to the report, meat consumption at that time was around 70 million metric tons. That equated to an annual per capita global average of 23 kilograms.</p><p><span></span>By 2018, however, when the population had grown to 7.6 billion people, meat consumption had risen seven-fold to around 350 million metric tons — or a global average of 46 kilograms per person annually.</p><p>A key problem with this trend is that <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/eating-meat-is-no-longer-a-private-matter/a-55515722" target="_blank">meat production</a> requires vast areas of land. According to the German Environment Agency (UBA), the country's central environment authority, 71% of global arable land is currently used for livestock feed. That is four times the amount required for direct food growth (18%) or other raw materials such as cotton (7%) and energy crops like corn for biogas (4%). </p>
The Problem With Pesticides<p>Besides revealing the power and global impact of the international meat industry, authors of the "Meat Atlas" also illustrate links to the global chemical industry. They write that dangerous and sometimes banned pesticides are exported by large chemical companies. Among the producers and exporters of such chemicals are European players, Bayer Crop Science, BASF, and Syngenta, as well as U.S. companies Corteva and FMS. </p>
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Dena Jones
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) was sued three times this past summer for shirking its responsibility to protect birds from egregious welfare violations and safeguard workers at slaughterhouses from injuries and the spread of the coronavirus.
Bringing your own reusable grocery bags when you go shopping is one of the easiest ways to cut down on your plastic consumption — according to the UN Environment Program, up to 5 trillion single-use plastic bags are used globally each year.The most sustainable option is to use a bag you already have, whether it's an old tote or a laundry basket (thank TikTok for that idea). You can also make your own reusable grocery bags out of T-shirts. But if you'd rather purchase designated reusable grocery bags, here are our recommendations.
ChicoBag<p>Standard reusable grocery bags — foldable cloth "green bags" that typically have company logos on them — are bulky, can't be machine washed, and tend to break down after a number of uses. <a href="https://www.amazon.com/ChicoBag-Original-Reusable-Shopping-Grocery/dp/B006WA9LRA" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">ChicoBag reusable grocery bags</a> solve these problems and more. They hold up to 25 pounds each, can be tossed in the wash, and stuff down into a tiny attached pouch that you can easily keep in your purse or the center console of your car until you need them.</p><p><strong>Customer rating:</strong> 4.8 out of 5 stars with over 1,000 Amazon reviews</p><strong>Why buy: </strong>Machine washable; Certified B Corp; Climate Neutral Certified; Supports 1% For the Planet; Fair Labor Association member
Lotus Sustainables<p>If you prefer bigger reusable grocery bags that add convenience to your shopping experience, <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Trolley-COOLER-Reusable-Grocery-Eco-friendly/dp/B07WTLWF4Z?th=1" target="_blank">Lotus Trolley Bags</a> may be perfect for you. These bags fold flat and nestle in your cart so that you can sort items while you shop. There's a large insulated cooler bag, as well as two standard reusable shopping bags and a bag with pockets for wine bottles and <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/brown-eggs-healthier-than-white-eggs-2314254330.html" target="_self">egg cartons</a>. Each can hold up to 50 pounds and has double-stitched seams for added durability.</p><p><strong>Customer rating: </strong>4.6 out of 5 stars with over 3,000 Amazon reviews</p><strong>Why buy:</strong> Machine washable; Removable rod for non-cart use; Supports 1% for the Planet
BAGGU<p>For another versatile option, try the <a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07N4D829J?tag=ecowatch-20&linkCode=ogi&th=1&psc=1" target="_blank">Baggu Standard Reusable Shopping Bag</a>. This product is modeled after a conventional <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/thailand-plastic-bag-ban-2643538829.html" target="_self">plastic grocery bag</a> but is made with 40% recycled ripstop fabric. Baggu reusable bags can carry up to 50 pounds but stuff down into a five-inch internal pocket for carrying.</p><p><strong>Customer rating:</strong> 4.7 out of 5 stars with over 50 Amazon reviews</p><strong>Why buy:</strong> Machine washable; Made with 40% recycled materials; Ethically manufactured; Packaging made from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified material
Ecodunia<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/Ecodunia-Canvas-Tote-Women-Eco-Conscious/dp/B08LY82NYW/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Ecodunia&qid=1613051665&sr=8-1" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Ecodunia's reusable bags</a> have a sturdier feel than most products on this list. The canvas used to make each bag is produced from 100% renewable resources and natural cotton, plus they have long handles for comfortable carrying over your shoulder. Ecodunia's fun prints will likely make you want to use these bags for more than carting groceries, but they're great for a weekend trip to the <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/farmers-markets-coronavirus-safety-2645581711.html" target="_self">farmers market</a>.</p><p><strong>Customer rating:</strong> 5 out of 5 stars with under 5 Amazon reviews</p><p><strong>Why buy: </strong>Made from natural cotton; Machine washable; Handmade; Provides dignified work for communities in Kenya </p>
Simple Ecology<p>Another canvas bag option comes from <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Simple-Ecology-Reusable-Shopping-Certified/dp/B086Z7XQ79?ref_=ast_sto_dp" target="_blank">Simple Ecology</a>. This brand's eco-friendly grocery bags are made with Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified cotton and feature pop-out sleeves for more fragile goods and double-stitched seams for extra reinforcement. The large size has about the same capacity as a grocer's paper bag. Simple Ecology also has a reusable bag <a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N6AUMBG/ref=sspa_dk_detail_2?psc=1&pd_rd_i=B01N6AUMBG&pd_rd_w=MA3ZS&pf_rd_p=cbc856ed-1371-4f23-b89d-d3fb30edf66d&pd_rd_wg=hVunQ&pf_rd_r=G6RTQ1Z5DKEY325MAJZ9&pd_rd_r=5d298b3a-1be7-4ebd-a9e1-d5d672a40497&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUExMzc4RVAxWjNLOTdCJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwNTc0NTAwMzBDMjFYOVJPTUpWSCZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwNjYyOTM4M0s4Vk81SVBPS1NFSyZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX2RldGFpbF90aGVtYXRpYyZhY3Rpb249Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=" target="_blank">starter kit</a> that comes with a tote and several reusable produce bags.</p> <p><strong>Customer Rating: </strong>4.6 out of 5 stars with over 900 Amazon reviews</p><strong>Why Buy:</strong> GOTS certified; Machine washable; Biodegradable; Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) certified packaging when purchased from manufacturer
BagPodz<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/BagPodz-Reusable-Bag-Storage-System/dp/B00QJ9PBBY" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">BagPodz Reusable Shopping Bags</a> are all about convenience. You can get a pack of five or 10 bags, all of which fit in a low-profile "pod" that can be stored for use on the go. When at the <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/vancouvers-grocery-store-plastic-bags-2638807121.html" target="_self">grocery store</a>, the pod clips to your cart and has an easy-dispense pocket for when it's time to check out. After use, just stuff them back into the pod. BagPodz reusable bags are made with Bluesign® certified materials, which means they're manufactured sustainably.</p> <p><strong>Customer Rating:</strong> 4.8 out of 5 stars with over 2,000 Amazon reviews</p><strong>Why Buy: </strong>Machine washable; Made with Bluesign certified material
Scientists in China have identified a strain of H1N1 that is rapidly spreading amongst workers in the country's pig farms. They warn that the fast spreading strain of swine flu has pandemic potential, if it is not contained quickly, according to The New York Times.
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The dangers of working shoulder-to-shoulder in a meat processing plant have come to the forefront as the novel coronavirus has exposed the fragility of the meat industry's supply chain. Factory farming is also resource intensive, leading to deforestation and fueling the climate crisis. It also accounts for 99 percent of the meat that Americans consume.
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Countries around the world are seeing a mounting threat from antibiotic resistance. After decades of overprescribing antibiotics and overusing them in factory farming, rivers are polluted with antibiotics and complications from drug-resistant infections are projected to cost $100 trillion by 2050, according to Scientific American.
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New Jersey senator and presidential hopeful Cory Booker put forth the Farm System Reform Act of 2019, in recognition of the environmental impact of industrial agriculture, which would put a stop to any new factory farms, as The Hill reported.
- Factory Farms Pollute the Environment and Poison Drinking Water ... ›
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- If Factory Farm Conditions Are Unhealthy for Animals, They're Bad ... ›
By Tia Schwab
In 2014, the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, commissioned by the UK government and Wellcome Trust, estimated that 700,000 people around the world die each year due to drug-resistant infections. A follow-up report two years later showed no change in this estimate of casualties. Without action, that number could grow to 10 million per year by 2050. A leading cause of antibiotic resistance? The misuse and overuse of antibiotics on factory farms.
Antibiotic Resistance<p><strong>The problem</strong>: In 2017, nearly <a href="https://www.fda.gov/media/119332/download" target="_blank">11 million</a> kilograms of antibiotics—including 5.6 million kilograms of medically important antibiotics—were sold in the U.S. for factory-farmed animals. Factory farms use antibiotics to make livestock grow faster and control the spread of disease in cramped and unhealthy living conditions. While antibiotics do kill some bacteria in animals, resistant bacteria can, and often do, <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/narms/faq.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fnarms%2Fanimals.html" target="_blank">survive and multiply</a>, contaminating meat and animal products during slaughter and processing.</p><p><strong>What it means for you</strong>: People can be exposed to antibiotic-resistant bacteria by handling or eating contaminated animal products, coming into contact with contaminated water or touching farm animals, which of course makes a farmworker's job especially hazardous. Even if you don't eat much meat or dairy, you're vulnerable: Resistant pathogens can enter water streams through animal manure and contaminate irrigated produce.</p><p><strong>Development</strong>s: The European Union has been much more aggressive than the U.S. in regulating antibiotic use on factory farms, <a href="https://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-05-1687_en.htm" target="_blank">banning</a> the use of all antibiotics for growth promotion in 2006. But the U.S. is making some progress, too. Under <a href="https://www.fda.gov/media/83488/download" target="_blank">new rules</a> issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which went into effect in January 2017, antibiotics that are important for human medicine can no longer be used for growth promotion or feed efficiency in cows, pigs, chickens, turkeys and other animals raised for food.</p><p>Additionally, <a href="https://tinyurl.com/yyavm2of" target="_blank">95 percent</a> of medically important antibiotics used in animal water and feed for therapeutic purposes were reclassified so they can no longer be purchased over the counter, and a veterinarian would have to sign off for their use in animals. As a result, domestic sales and distribution of medically important antimicrobials approved for use in factory farmed animals decreased by 43 percent from 2015 (the year of peak sales) through 2017, <a href="https://www.fda.gov/media/119332/download" target="_blank">reports</a> the FDA.</p><p>However, the agency still allows routine antibiotic use in factory farms for disease prevention in crowded and stressed animals, so these new rules aren't nearly enough, says Matthew Wellington, antibiotics program director for the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund.</p><p>"The FDA should implement ambitious reduction targets for antibiotic use in the meat industry, and ensure that these medicines are used to treat sick animals or control a verified disease outbreak, not for routine disease prevention," Wellington <a href="https://tinyurl.com/yyavm2of" target="_blank">said</a> in a statement, according to the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy.</p><p>National Resources Defense Council Senior Attorney Avinash Kar <a href="https://tinyurl.com/yyavm2of" target="_blank">agrees</a>. "Far more antibiotics important to humans still go to cows and pigs—usually when they're not sick—than to people, putting the health of every single one of us in jeopardy."</p>
Water and Pollution<p><strong>The problem</strong>: Livestock in this country produce between 3 and 20 times more waste than people in the U.S. produce, according to a <a href="https://nepis.epa.gov/Exe/ZyNET.exe/P10089B1.TXT?ZyActionD=ZyDocument&Client=EPA&Index=2000+Thru+2005&Docs=&Query=&Time=&EndTime=&SearchMethod=1&TocRestrict=n&Toc=&TocEntry=&QField=&QFieldYear=&QFieldMonth=&QFieldDay=&IntQFieldOp=0&ExtQFieldOp=0&XmlQuery=&File=D%3A%5Czyfiles%5CIndex%20Data%5C00thru05%5CTxt%5C00000024%5CP10089B1.txt&User=ANONYMOUS&Password=anonymous&SortMethod=h%7C-&MaximumDocuments=1&FuzzyDegree=0&ImageQuality=r75g8/r75g8/x150y150g16/i425&Display=hpfr&DefSeekPage=x&SearchBack=ZyActionL&Back=ZyActionS&BackDesc=Results%20page&MaximumPages=1&ZyEntry=1&SeekPage=x&ZyPURL" target="_blank">2005 report</a> issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). That's as much as 1.2-1.37 billion tons of manure a year. Some estimates are even higher.</p><p>Manure can contain "pathogens such as <em>E. coli</em>, growth hormones, antibiotics, chemicals used as additives to the manure or to clean equipment, animal blood, silage leachate from corn feed, or copper sulfate used in footbaths for cows," <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/ehs/docs/understanding_cafos_nalboh.pdf" target="_blank">according to</a> a 2010 report by the National Association of Local Boards of Health. Though sewage treatment plants are required for human waste, no such treatment facility exists for livestock waste.</p><p>Since this amount far exceeds what can be used as fertilizer, animal waste from factory farms typically enters massive, open-air waste lagoons, which <a href="https://fyi.extension.wisc.edu/manureirrigation/" target="_blank">spread airborne pathogens</a> to people who live nearby. If animal waste is applied as fertilizer and exceeds the soil's capacity for absorption, or if there is a leak or break in the manure storage or containment unit, the animal waste runs off into oceans, lakes, rivers, streams and groundwater.</p><p>Extreme weather increases the possibility of such breaks. Hurricane Florence, for example, flooded <a href="https://www.npr.org/2018/09/22/650698240/hurricane-s-aftermath-floods-hog-lagoons-in-north-carolina" target="_blank">at least 50</a> hog lagoons when it struck the Carolinas last year, and satellite photos <a href="https://stonepierpress.org/goodfoodnews/mapping-factory-farms" target="_blank">captured</a> the damage.</p><p>Whether or not the manure is contained or spread as fertilizer, it can release many different types of harmful gases, including ammonia and hydrogen sulfide, as well as <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/ehs/docs/understanding_cafos_nalboh.pdf" target="_blank">particulate matter</a> comprised of fecal matter, feed materials, pollen, bacteria, fungi, skin cells and silicates, into the air.</p><p><strong>What it means for you</strong>: Pathogens can cause diarrhea and severe illness or even death for those with weakened immune systems, and nitrates in drinking water have been <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/ehs/docs/understanding_cafos_nalboh.pdf" target="_blank">connected</a> to <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40572-016-0085-0" target="_blank">neural tube defects and limb deficiencies in newborns</a> (among other things), as well as miscarriages and poor general health. For infants, it can mean blue baby syndrome and even death.</p><p>Gases like ammonia and hydrogen sulfide can <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/ehs/docs/understanding_cafos_nalboh.pdf" target="_blank">cause</a> dizziness, eye irritation, respiratory illness, nausea, sore throats, seizures, comas and death. Particulate matter in the air can <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/ehs/docs/understanding_cafos_nalboh.pdf" target="_blank">lead</a> to chronic bronchitis, chronic respiratory symptoms, declines in lung function and organic dust toxic syndrome. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/ehs/docs/understanding_cafos_nalboh.pdf" target="_blank">reported</a> that children raised in communities near factory farms are more likely to develop asthma or bronchitis, and that people who live near factory farms may experience mental health deterioration and increased sensitization to smells.</p><p><strong>Developments</strong>: It is difficult to hold factory farms accountable for polluting surrounding air and water, largely for political reasons. The GOP-controlled Congress and the Trump administration excused big livestock farms from reporting air emissions, for instance, following a <a href="https://www.motherjones.com/food/2018/12/factory-farms-no-longer-have-to-report-their-air-emissions-that-could-be-dangerous-for-their-neighbors/" target="_blank">decade-long push</a> for special treatment by the livestock industry.</p><p>The exemption indicates "further denial of the impact that these [emissions] are having, whether it's on climate or whether it's on public health," <a href="https://www.motherjones.com/food/2018/12/factory-farms-no-longer-have-to-report-their-air-emissions-that-could-be-dangerous-for-their-neighbors/" target="_blank">says</a> Carrie Apfel, an attorney for Earthjustice. In a 2017 <a href="https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2017-09/documents/_epaoig_20170919-17-p-0396.pdf" target="_blank">report</a> from the EPA's Office of the Inspector General, the agency admitted it has not found a good way to track emissions from factory farms and know whether the farms are complying with the Clean Air Act.</p><p>No federal agency even has reliable information on the number and locations of factory farms, which of course makes accountability even harder to establish.</p>
Foodborne Illness<p><strong></strong><strong>The problem</strong>: The U.S. has "shockingly high levels of foodborne illness," <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/animals-farmed/2018/feb/21/dirty-meat-shocking-hygiene-failings-discovered-in-us-pig-and-chicken-plants" target="_blank">according</a> to an investigation jointly conducted by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and The Guardian, and unsanitary conditions at factory farms are a leading contributor.</p><p>Studying 47 meat plants across the U.S., investigators found that hygiene incidents occur at rates experts described as "deeply worrying." One dataset covered 13 large red meat and poultry plants between 2015 and 2017 and found an average of more than 150 violations a week, and 15,000 violations over the entire period. Violations included unsanitary factory conditions and meat contaminated with blood, septicemic disease and feces.</p><p>"The rates at which outbreaks of infectious food poisoning occur in the U.S. are significantly higher than in the UK, or the EU," Erik Millstone, a food safety expert at Sussex University told The Guardian.</p><p>Poor sanitary practices allow bacteria like E. coli and Salmonella, which live in the intestinal tracts of infected livestock, to contaminate meat or animal products during slaughter or processing. Contamination occurs at higher rates on factory farms because crowded and unclean living conditions increase the likelihood of transmission between animals.</p><p>It also stresses out animals, which suppresses their immune response, making them more susceptible to disease. The grain-based diets used to fatten cattle can also quickly increase the risk of <em>E. coli</em> infection. In poultry, the practice of processing dead hens into "<a href="https://www.huffpost.com/entry/e-coli-salmonella-and-oth_b_415240?guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAANkjLwmsnRglc1VCMlqcRi5-MysjhEUaB6ddNuzRBu4D7mS_Kc5u2RYcFwbWFy3rsSXK8Rh26fF32cF4wb3DP6yf0ECvgxMz6hOVz-kY2KxgbY_3lEMErrMEjYYFOkCdXibwPndBfr_fztIA1Gw6EbO5sRlbajNmkUFhG382YQg&guccounter=2" target="_blank">spent hen meal</a>" to be fed to live hens has increased the spread of <em>Salmonella</em>.</p><p><strong>What it means for yo</strong>u: According to the CDC, roughly <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/foodborneburden/estimates-overview.html" target="_blank">48 million</a> people in the U.S. suffer from foodborne illnesses annually, with 128,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 deaths each year. <em>Salmonella</em> accounts for approximately 11 percent of infections, and kills more people every year than any other bacterial foodborne illness.</p><p><strong>Developments</strong>: In January 2011, President Obama <a href="https://www.fda.gov/food/food-safety-modernization-act-fsma/international-capacity-building-under-fsma" target="_blank">signed</a> the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the <a href="https://tinyurl.com/kl4oqm" target="_blank">first</a> major piece of federal legislation addressing food safety since 1938. FSMA grants the FDA new authority to regulate the way food is grown, harvested and processed, and new powers such as mandatory recall authority.</p><p>The FSMA "basically codified this principle that everybody responsible for producing food should be doing what the best science says is appropriate to prevent hazards and reduce the risk of illness," <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/20/health/food-safety-illness-rise-cdc/index.html" target="_blank">according</a> to Mike Taylor, co-chairman of Stop Foodborne Illness and a former deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine at the FDA. "So we're moving in the right direction."</p><p>However, almost a decade later, the FSMA is still being phased in, due to a shortage of trained food-inspectors and a lack of funding. "Congress has gotten about halfway to what it said was needed to successfully implement" the Act, Taylor said.</p>
The Flu<p><strong></strong><strong>The problem</strong>: Both the number and density of animals on factory farms increase the risk of new virulent pathogens, <a href="https://www.ciwf.org.uk/media/22780/swine_flu_report_05_05_2009.pdf" target="_blank">according</a> to the U.S. Council for Agriculture, Science and Technology. In addition, transporting animals over long distances to processing facilities brings different influenza strains into contact with each other so they combine and spread quickly.</p><p>Pigs — susceptible to both avian and human flu viruses — can serve as ground zero for all sorts of new strains. Because of intensive pig farming practices, "the North American swine flu virus has jumped onto an evolutionary fast track, churning out variants every year," <a href="https://tinyurl.com/yybhkxaq" target="_blank">according</a> to a report published in the journal Science.</p><p><strong>What it means for you</strong>: These viruses can become pandemics. In fact, viral geneticists <a href="https://www.wired.com/2009/05/swineflufarm/" target="_blank">link</a> the genetic lineage of H1N1, a kind of swine flu, to a strain that emerged in 1998 in U.S. factory pig farms. The CDC has <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/2009-h1n1-pandemic.html" target="_blank">estimated</a> that between 151,700 and 575,400 people worldwide died from the 2009 H1N1 virus infection during the first year the virus circulated.</p>
Breast, Prostate and Colon Cancer<p><strong></strong><strong>The problem</strong>: Factory farms in the U.S. use hormones to stimulate growth in an estimated <a href="https://www.foodandwatereurope.org/factsheet/food-safety-consequences-of-factory-farms/" target="_blank">two-thirds</a> of beef cattle. On dairy farms, around <a href="https://www.foodandwatereurope.org/factsheet/food-safety-consequences-of-factory-farms/" target="_blank">54 percent</a> of cows are injected with recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH), a growth hormone that increases milk production.</p><p><strong>What it means for you</strong>: The health effects of consuming animal products treated with these growth hormones is an ongoing international debate. Some <a href="https://www.foodandwatereurope.org/factsheet/food-safety-consequences-of-factory-farms/" target="_blank">studies</a> have linked growth hormone residues in meat to reproductive issues and breast, prostate and colon cancer, and IGF-1, an insulin-like growth hormone, has been linked to colon and breast cancer. However, the <a href="https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/product-safety-information/report-food-and-drug-administrations-review-safety-recombinant-bovine-somatotropin" target="_blank">FDA</a>, the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK15180/" target="_blank">National Institutes of Health</a> and the <a href="https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/127845/9789241209885_eng.pdf;jsessionid=BB8751F0CE011D6249BDE6C98211465C?sequence=1" target="_blank">World Health Organization</a> have independently found that dairy products and meat from cows treated with rBGH are safe for human consumption.</p><p>Because risk assessments vary, the EU, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Israel and Argentina have banned the use of rBGH as a precautionary measure. The EU has also <a href="https://ec.europa.eu/food/safety/chemical_safety/meat_hormones_en" target="_blank">banned</a> the use of six hormones in cattle and imported beef.</p><p><strong>Developments</strong>: U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines allow beef products to be <a href="https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/food-labeling/meat-and-poultry-labeling-terms/meat-and-poultry-labeling-terms#15" target="_blank">labeled</a> with "no hormones administered" and dairy products to be <a href="https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-1994-02-10/html/94-3214.htm" target="_blank">labeled</a> "from cows not treated with rBST/rBGH" if the producer provides sufficient documentation that this is true. Consumers can use this information to make their own decisions about the risks associated with hormone-treated animal products.</p>
What You Can Do<p>You can vote for local initiatives that establish health and welfare regulations for factory farms, but only a tiny number of states, including <a href="https://ballotpedia.org/California_Proposition_12,_Farm_Animal_Confinement_Initiative_(2018)" target="_blank">California</a> and <a href="https://ballotpedia.org/Massachusetts_Minimum_Size_Requirements_for_Farm_Animal_Containment,_Question_3_(2016)" target="_blank">Massachusetts</a>, are even putting relevant propositions on the ballot.</p><p>Another option is to support any of the nonprofits that are, in lieu of effective government action, taking these factory farms to task. The <a href="https://www.ewg.org/" target="_blank">Environmental Working Group</a>, <a href="https://earthjustice.org/" target="_blank">Earthjustice</a> and the <a href="https://aldf.org/focus-area/farmed-animals/" target="_blank">Animal Legal Defense Fund</a> are among those working hard to check the worst practices of these factory farms. Another good organization is the <a href="https://sraproject.org/" target="_blank">Socially Responsible Agricultural Project</a>, which works with local residents to fight the development of factory farms in their own backyards.</p><p>Buying humanely raised animal products from farms and farmers you trust is another way to push back against factory farming. Sadly, products from these smaller farms make up only a fraction of the total. In the U.S., roughly <a href="https://www.sentienceinstitute.org/us-factory-farming-estimates" target="_blank">99 percent</a> of chickens, turkeys, eggs and pork, and <a href="https://www.sentienceinstitute.org/us-factory-farming-estimates" target="_blank">70 percent</a> of cows, are raised on factory farms.</p><p>You can support lab-grown "clean" burgers, chicken and pork by buying it once it becomes widely available. Made from animal cells, the process completely spares the animal and eliminates the factory farm. "The resulting product is 100 percent real meat, but without the antibiotics, <em>E. coli</em>, <em>Salmonella</em>, or waste contamination," <a href="https://www.gfi.org/images/uploads/2018/06/GFI1pager.pdf" target="_blank">writes</a> the Good Food Institute.</p><p>In the meantime, you can register your objection to factory farming by doing your bit to reduce demand for their products. In short, eat less meat and dairy, and more plant-based proteins.</p><p>More than $13 billion has been invested in plant-based meat, egg and dairy companies in 2017 and 2018 alone, <a href="https://www.gfi.org/state-of-the-industry" target="_blank">according</a> to the Good Food Institute, and Beyond Meat's initial public offering debut in May marked the most successful one since the year 2000.</p><p>Lest you think that what you do on your own can't possibly make a difference, consider one of the major drivers behind all this new investment: consumers are demanding change.</p><p>"Shifting consumer values have created a favorable market for alternatives to animal-based foods, and we have already seen fast-paced growth in this space across retail and foodservice markets," says Bruce Friedrich, executive director of the Good Food Institute.</p>
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By Alex Robinson
Leah Garcés used to hate poultry farmers.
The animal rights activist, who opposes factory farming, had an adversarial relationship with chicken farmers until around five years ago, when she sat down to listen to one. She met a poultry farmer called Craig Watts in rural North Carolina and learned that the problems stemming from factory farming extended beyond animal cruelty.
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By Brian Barth
There's something of a civil war brewing in the organic movement.
By Dan Nosowitz
A hot-button issue in the UK focuses on something most Americans don't even know about: a particular method of disinfecting raw poultry.
We're going to make this very simple. These are the 5 non-negotiable policies an ideal climate plan must include:
1. A Halt on All New Fossil Fuel Development<div id="ebbb9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="T2NPPI1576661509"><blockquote class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned data-instgrm-version="4" style=" background:#FFF; border:0; border-radius:3px; box-shadow:0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width:658px; padding:0; width:99.375%; width:-webkit-calc(100% - 2px); width:calc(100% - 2px);"> <div style="padding:8px;"> <div style=" background:#F8F8F8; line-height:0; margin-top:40px; padding:50% 0; text-align:center; width:100%;"> <div style=" background:url(data:image/png;base64,iVBORw0KGgoAAAANSUhEUgAAACwAAAAsCAMAAAApWqozAAAAGFBMVEUiIiI9PT0eHh4gIB4hIBkcHBwcHBwcHBydr+JQAAAACHRSTlMABA4YHyQsM5jtaMwAAADfSURBVDjL7ZVBEgMhCAQBAf//42xcNbpAqakcM0ftUmFAAIBE81IqBJdS3lS6zs3bIpB9WED3YYXFPmHRfT8sgyrCP1x8uEUxLMzNWElFOYCV6mHWWwMzdPEKHlhLw7NWJqkHc4uIZphavDzA2JPzUDsBZziNae2S6owH8xPmX8G7zzgKEOPUoYHvGz1TBCxMkd3kwNVbU0gKHkx+iZILf77IofhrY1nYFnB/lQPb79drWOyJVa/DAvg9B/rLB4cC+Nqgdz/TvBbBnr6GBReqn/nRmDgaQEej7WhonozjF+Y2I/fZou/qAAAAAElFTkSuQmCC); display:block; height:44px; margin:0 auto -44px; position:relative; top:-22px; width:44px;"> </div></div><p style=" margin:8px 0 0 0; padding:0 4px;"> <a href="https://www.instagram.com/p/BsrBa_plUhH/" style=" color:#000; font-family:Arial,sans-serif; font-size:14px; font-style:normal; font-weight:normal; line-height:17px; text-decoration:none; word-wrap:break-word;" target="_top">AbolishFossilFuels on Instagram: “#Truth #AbolishFossilFuels #ActOnClimate #KeepItInTheGround #ExxonKnew #MniWiconi #WaterIsLife #ProtectTheSacred #NoBPP #NoLine9”</a></p> </div></blockquote></div><p>This means <a href="https://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/campaign/ban-fracking-everywhere" target="_blank">banning fracking everywhere</a>, ending dangerous build-outs of pipelines and other harmful <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/fossil-fuels" target="_self">fossil fuel</a> infrastructure, banning public land extraction, and stopping the export of crude oil and natural gas. This also means excluding the use of market-based mechanisms like cap and trade or carbon taxes, which have been proven <a href="https://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/sites/default/files/ibsp_1711_ejpaytopollute-webfin2_0.pdf" target="_blank">ineffective</a> at reducing fossil fuel use and production. The best policy cuts these emissions off at the source.</p>
2. An Aggressive Timeline for a Shift to 100% Clean, Renewable Energy<div id="48939" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="1BJJJP1576661509"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1168660071510880257" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">"That conversation, it's starting to happen, but it is painfully slow and difficult." https://t.co/DXcUaZ8SiA @cleantechnica</div> — EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)<a href="https://twitter.com/EcoWatch/statuses/1168660071510880257">1567465248.0</a></blockquote></div><p>This means shifting to clean, <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/tag/fossil-fuels" target="_self">renewable energies</a> (like wind, solar, tidal, or geothermal) by 2030, stopping the use of "<a href="https://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/sites/default/files/rpt_1807_rpsnationalscores-web4_0.pdf" target="_blank">clean washing</a>" (posing dirty energy like nuclear, wood, black liquor, waste methane, waste incineration, renewable energy credits, coal as clean), investing in expanded and better public mass transit, transitioning to zero-emission transportation, and promoting <a href="https://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/insight/100-percent-clean-energy-2035-stop-global-warming" target="_blank">energy efficiency</a> and conservation across the country.</p>
3. A Federal Commitment to Public Water<div id="aa62f" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="CPFD541576661509"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1168368229712109574" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Clean drinking water is a human right. And anyone who violates that right must be held accountable. I stand in soli… https://t.co/iB53mQNvDM</div> — Ilhan Omar (@Ilhan Omar)<a href="https://twitter.com/IlhanMN/statuses/1168368229712109574">1567395667.0</a></blockquote></div><p>This means dedicating at least <a href="https://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/sites/default/files/fs_1902_waterjobsjustice-wateractupd2-web.pdf" target="_blank">$35 billion</a> each year to renovating our nation's deteriorating public water infrastructure; addressing water contamination from PFOA, PFOS and other PFASs (widespread, persistent lab-made toxics); replacing all lead service lines; stopping sewer overflows; dedicating money to help small, rural and indigenous communities; and promoting affordable water service for all regardless of income (see: <a href="https://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/news/reps-lawrence-and-khanna-senator-sanders-introduce-water-act-address-water-justice-america" target="_blank">WATER Act</a>).</p>
4. A Transition Away From Corporate Agriculture<div id="0dc3f" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="V93KW91576661509"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1169381876722753541" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">[email protected] — it's about more than personal choices with food. Any real climate plan must tackle agriculture meg… https://t.co/MymVFZYSyi</div> — Food & Water Action (@Food & Water Action)<a href="https://twitter.com/fwaction/statuses/1169381876722753541">1567637340.0</a></blockquote></div><p>This means <a href="https://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/insight/urgent-case-ban-factory-farms" target="_blank">banning factory farming</a>, breaking up corporate agricultural consolidation, restoring control over agricultural siting and practices to local governments, holding vertically integrated companies accountable for the pollution created by the animals they own and rejecting false solutions like <a href="https://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/news/agricultural-revolution-must-exclude-burning-animal-poop" target="_blank">manure-to-energy schemes</a>.</p>
5. A Just, Fair, and Equitable Process<div id="e1046" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="UWB2MD1576661509"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1110999367043842049" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Check out this new @foodandwater report -- Building Climate Justice: Investing in Energy Efficiency for a Fair and… https://t.co/nzwyFcJG25</div> — Frack Action (@Frack Action)<a href="https://twitter.com/FrackAction/statuses/1110999367043842049">1553717865.0</a></blockquote></div><p>This means substantially investing in upgrading the energy efficiency of our nation's buildings to create millions of high-quality jobs, targeting these <a href="https://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/insight/building-climate-justice-investing-energy-efficiency-fair-and-just-transition" target="_blank">investments</a> in lower-income populations and communities of color in both urban and rural areas, implementing pro-labor policies to ensure green jobs are worker and union-friendly, and funding transition programs for fossil fuel workers.</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from our media associate <a href="https://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/news/perfect-climate-plan-5-bullet-points" target="_blank">Food and Water Watch</a>.</em></p>
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By Tia Schwab
It has been almost a year since Hurricane Florence slammed the Carolinas, dumping a record 30 inches of rainfall in some parts of the states. At least 52 people died, and property and economic losses reached $24 billion, with nearly $17 billion in North Carolina alone. Flood waters also killed an estimated 3.5 million chickens and 5,500 hogs.