Twelve groups sued the United States Environmental Protection Agency on December 18, 2019 for not updating clean water policies related to slaughterhouses. Meat and poultry plants are now allowed to keep their outdated policies for water quality. This will ultimately lead to increased water pollution and contamination, according to the lawsuit.
Environmental Integrity Project and Earthjustice filed the suit, which includes the groups Animal Legal Defense Fund, Cape Fear River Watch, Rural Empowerment Association for Community Help, Comite Civico del Valle, Waterkeepers Chesapeake, Center for Biological Diversity, Environment America, Food & Water Watch, Waterkeeper Alliance, and The Humane Society of the United States.
4,700 slaughterhouses let polluted waters into waterways, including the Chesapeake Bay, through municipal sewage treatment or other ways. Approximately 5,000 processing plants in the United States slaughter 8 billion chickens, 100 million pigs and 30 million cattle in the United States, according to Earthjustice. Many of these are located in rural areas including Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa and Pennsylvania.
Sylvia Lam, Attorney with the Environmental Integrity Project, who filed the lawsuit said of the issue, “EPA’s national standards for water pollution from slaughterhouses are either weak and outdated or nonexistent. It is well past time for EPA to crack down on this public health hazard. Cleaner plants have already installed technology to lessen the pollution they send into their local rivers and streams. By not updating these nationwide standards, EPA is rewarding dirty slaughterhouses at the expense of the public.”
The EPA found that slaughterhouses were the largest source of nitrogen water pollution, yet chose to not update the standards in October, 2019. To learn more about the EPA, clean water and slaughterhouses, check out these One Green Planet articles:
- Why We Need the EPA for the Sake of Wildlife
- These 10 Shocking Facts On Factory Farms and Water Pollution Will Make You Rethink That Burger
- Gross! Study Reveals 75% of Industrial U.S. Slaughterhouses Violate Local Water Pollution Limits
- Beyond the Factory Farm: How Slaughterhouses Are Polluting the Planet
- 5 Ways Factory Farming Is Killing the Environment
- These Streams and Wetlands Have Been Stripped of Their Protection From Pollution!
- Infographic: What’s the Cost of Factory Farming on Our Health and Environment?
- Antibiotic Resistance in Humans Tied to Factory Farms
The United Nation recently released a report warning countries about the dangers of climate change. They also urged people to reduce their dairy and meat intake by opting for more plant-based foods as one way to take climate action. We highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest meatless, plant-based, vegan and allergy-friendly 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.
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- Plant-Based Nutrition Resources
- The Ultimate Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition
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