Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Factory Farms Produce 100 Times More Waste than U.S. Population

Mike Barrett, Contributor
Activist Post

If you thought you were a major contributor to pollution, just wait until you hear this. Factory farms produce 100 times more waste than every single person in the United States combined. The amount of waste produced by these factories is in such mass quantities that it is virtually impossible to clean up properly.

Much of this waste is dumped into the water supply, drastically increasing overall water pollution as well as contributing to the pollution found in drinking water.

Back in 2008 the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made a decision that affected many factory farms. They stated that any confined animal feeding operation (CAFO), also known as factory farms, “designed, constructed, operated, and maintained in a manner such that the CAFO will discharge” animal waste must apply for a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit under the Clean Water Act. The livestock industry ridiculed this notion.

There have been past rulings concerning this issue that forced farmers to have a permit to discharge waste and to have a set plan as to how the waste would be discharged, or they would face civil or criminal penalties. The 2008 ruling went further with the issue, putting even more criteria in place to follow.

A ruling on Tuesday, March 15, 2011 by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, however, ruled that the EPA has no right to require CAFOs to apply for permits unless they actually discharge waste. But if a CAFO does in fact discharge waste, the EPA can then require that CAFO to apply for a permit.


Nutrients in animal waste cause something known as algal blooms, which use up oxygen in the water and effectively cause a lack of oxygen for aquatic life to survive. These lifeless areas are called “dead zones”. The most notorious of dead zones can be found in the Gulf of Mexico, where it extended a record 8,500 square miles during the summer of 2002 and stretched over 7,700 square miles during summer of 2010, and is always fluctuating. Ammonia, a toxic form of nitrogen released during waste disposal, can be carried via air over 300 miles before being dumped back onto the ground or into the water, where it causes algal blooms and fish kills.

The past laws set in place forced CAFOs to apply for a permit and create a plan to handle the massive amount of waste the animals would inevitably generate. With this law changing and lowering the standards at which factory farms are run by, CAFO’s will be able to wait until the last minute before they decide to dump the waste. Despite the fact that the EPA will be able to penalize them for such actions, the CAFO’s will already have done the damage to the environment by ridding their land of millions of gallons of manure.

The simple fact is that factory farms are causing problems, and are still being widely used today.
  • The number of hog farms in the United States has dropped from 650,000 to 71,000 over the past 30 years, however, the number of hogs remains nearly the same.
  • In 1999, only 2% of hog farms in the U.S. accounted for more than 46% of the total number of hogs, as reported by U.S. Department of Agriculture.
  • 10 total companies produce over 90% of the nation’s poultry.
Additional sources:
AlterNet
NRDC

Explore More:

  1. This Type of Factory Produces 100 Times More Waste than the Entire US Population Combined
  2. Undercover Video Gives the Dirt on Pigs in Factory Farms
  3. Factory Farms the Only Way to ‘Feed the World’? Not so, Argues Science Paper
  4. Organic Farms Have Lower Levels of Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria
  5. Americans Waste Enough Food Daily to Fill 90,000 Seat Stadium
  6. Radioactivity Seawater Near Fukushima 20-Thousand Times Higher than Permissible Annual Standard

This article first appeared at Natural Society, an excellent resource for health news and vaccine information. 


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6 comments:

Anonymous said...

this is kind of stupid. of course they are going to produce waste making a product (food) for the people to consume. this is like using electricity from a coal burning plant and then complaining how much THEY are polluting.

if everyone grew their own food and raised their own animals to eat there would be the exact same amount of waste in the world, you just wouldn't be able to blame someone ELSE for making it...

arthurdecco said...

Good post, Anonymous. Except for one thing - families raising livestock and growing vegetables don' saturate the land with chemicals and seeds designed by corporations to make them money nearly as much as the factory farms do.

J-Rod said...

I'm sorry Anonymous, you are sorely mistaken. The main problem is the concentration of the animals in small areas and the concentration of their waste in small areas. In a pasture based farm, for example, the animals would have access to nature and their waste would safely be incorporated into the soil. Manure is a resource when used properly, however so much is generated in a CAFO that the land cannot possibly accommodate that amount of waste. When the land cannot accommodate the manure, that is when you have problems with run off and algae blooms.

You are correct that the amount of waste would be the same, however it would be spread out over a vastly greater area and would safely be incorporated into the soil, yielding a more fertile soil and a sustainable system.

Thank you for adding your voice to the discussion. This is an important issue that more people need to be aware of

Anonymous said...

in proper farming there is no waste and also local food requires less haulage and storage and removes some of the middle man, wipes the futures market in this and the hobbling of freedom implicit in the criminal way our growing of food is managed.

Steadcore said...

If you want to play dirty I guess you must get dirty. This whole system is a filth pot brimming over with no way to stop it. Local farms are being bought up or shut down for reasons that defy common sense. Mich. hog farms are ordered to kill all of their pigs because they run wild and appear to look wild, because they have more hair. In reality these pigs can run and play. The meat is sweeter and leaner than commercialized pork. Corporations kill and destroy every good thing for personal profit. I can hardly stand to be here witnessing this madness. I can't look the other way on any of these issues. It appears everything they do is about eliminating us so they can clean it all up when we are gone and have their NWO. But I don't see how this can be accomplished when by the time they kill everybody that they expect to find a Utopia in a world heaped in trash and pollution. I suppose they have some synthesized remedy to pour over the earth and magically make all this disappear of course at a cost.

Anonymous said...

1st poster here: i'm not saying the environmental impacts would be the same if everyone grew their own food and livestock, of course spreading it out would help reduce algae blooms and whatnot, i was just saying the amount would be the same. it's just this article is kind of stupid because it's saying WE aren't polluting as much as these "bad guys" when WE are the ones consuming their products, it's trying to shift the blame and say "hey we really aren't producing all that much, look at THOSE guys over their!"

sorry but YOU are a contributor to "their" waste if you buy any of their food ever. it is part of YOUR waste not theirs.

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