The owner of Highland Dairy in Clovis, New Mexico, euthanized 3,665 dairy cows due to toxic water pollution from the local Air Force Base.
Back in 2018, Art Schaap was notified that 7 out of the 13 wells on his farm were contaminated by toxins called PFAS. These chemicals entered the groundwater from a substance that is used to smother flames in fire training. The nearby Cannon Air Force Base is to blame.
Air Force scientists found contamination near the farm in the summer of 2017, which according to The Guardian, was nearly eight years after the Air Force identified the need for such an inspection.
Although the investigation finally happened, no one notified the people in the area. Fast forward to 2018, when Schaap’s water was tested, it was found to be so polluted that the military immediately began delivering bottled water (which still contains PFAS) to the family’s home. One of his wells tested 171 times over the EPA health advisory level.
According to a press release from the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED), “The current estimated cost of this loss of revenue and increased expenses is $5,946,462, which does not account for upcoming costs associated with the on-farm composting of animal mortalities and final disposal.”
Now the state Environment Department is taking money from the emergency waste for the cleanup of the carcasses and other wastes. The department says that it has now spent over $6 million to protect communities from PFAS. Why aren’t we working to stop these chemicals from the source? We spend so much money cleaning up the horrible damage that these chemicals do to our environment, but not enough to move away to something sustainable and not extremely harmful to the environment.
All of the cows on this farm have been drinking this water. This means that all of the milk that he was selling was more than likely extremely contaminated. Testing in the cows and their milk showed PFAS levels that the USDA deemed unsafe for human consumption. He dumped nearly 15,000 gallons of milk each day.
“It’s potentially been in the groundwater the whole time I’ve owned the dairy,” Schaap said.
The Air Force knew that the contamination was present, so why didn’t they say something? This was a matter of public health and once again shows how easy it is for these agencies to lie to the public and disregard their health and well-being. The loss of these 3,665 dairy cows is devastating, and we need to make a big shift away from dairy and meat. Although farms are often contaminated by outside sources like this Air Force Base, livestock farms and responsible for an insane amount of pollution and contamination themselves. Twenty livestock companies produce more greenhouse gas emissions than Germany, Britain, or France. Not to mention, meat and dairy are not even good for our health!
Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammation, heart health, mental well-being, fitness goals, nutritional needs, allergies, gut health, and more! Unfortunately, dairy consumption also has been linked to many health problems, including acne, hormonal imbalance, cancer, and prostate cancer, and has many side effects.
For those interested in eating more plant-based, we highly recommend purchasing one of our many plant-based cookbooks or downloading the Food Monster App which has thousands of delicious recipes making it the largest vegan recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.
Here are some resources to get you started:
- Weekly Vegan Meal Plans
- Plant-Based Health Resources
- Plant-Based Food & Recipes
- The Ultimate Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition
- Plant-Based Nutrition Resources
- Budget-Friendly Plant-Based Recipes
- High Protein Plant-Based Recipes
- Plant-Based Meal Prep
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