Factory farming is arguably one of the most destructive industries on the planet. Industrialized animal agriculture is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions and, in this specific case, it is completely altering and destroying rural life.
A Care2 petition is seeking to stop a joint venture by Dannon and McCarty Dairy to build a massive dairy farm. The petition author states, “I live in a rural area that is part of the Miami Erie Canal heritage. Most of the reservoirs for the old Canal are toxic now from algae formed through farm run off.” You read that right, TOXIC.
The petitioner, who goes simply by “Tim,” continues, “I didn’t realize what a horrible thing the Concentrated Animal Feed Operations (CAFO) have become until researching how to protect the water from farm runoff. The risks outweigh any possible benefit from the CAFO farms other than a slightly cheaper (inferior) product.”
CAFOs, or Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, are absolute pollution factories. A medium size dairy factory farm facility houses between 200 and 700 cows (the EPA considers 700 dairy cattle the lower limit for a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation). When you crowd that many animals together, you will inevitably get a whole lot of waste. Considering dairy cows have to eat A LOT to maintain their metabolisms (around 100 pounds of food a day) when being milked multiple times a day, you can only imagine just how much manure they output. The standard dairy operation uses 150 gallons of water per cow, per day just to flush all of the waste off their parlor floors. Unfortunately, that polluted water doesn’t always stay in the designated cesspool, but it can manage to make its way into local streams and rivers – causing dead zones and posing a serious threat to public health.
The goal of mass producing milk, as Tim mentions, is to create a cheaper product, but the actual cost to people, animals, and the planet are rarely considered. People who work in the factories, people who live near or around the factories, consumers, AND the environment suffer as well. The industry works overtime to keep the cost of animal agriculture hidden — the water pollution being one major thing they try to keep hidden. They continue to get away with it, however, because people don’t unite against them, en masse, often enough. This petition is surely one of many efforts to fight factory farming, and it can only succeed if people sign it, speak up, and share this story with others.
Sign the petition and help fight McCarty, Vantilburg Excavation, and Dannon’s efforts in building another CAFO in Ohio!
To learn more about how your food choices impact the planet, people, and animals, check out One Green Planet’s #EatForThePlanet campaign.
Lead image: dcoop27/Flickr