The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced $215 million in grants to grow the meat and poultry industry, strengthen the food supply chain, and create more jobs. This funding was announced a year after President Biden’s Executive Order on America’s Supply Chains, which was meant to increase competition in meat and poultry processing.

The USDA Rural Development is taking part and will make $150 million in grants available for the startup and expansion of meat and poultry processing through the Meat and Poultry Processing Expansion Program.

The USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture will also supply $40 million for workforce development and training to provide more workers to the industry. The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will provide $25 million for technical assistance to approve meat and poultry processing applications to expand existing and new farms.

The mass government funding follows the Administration’s announcement about addressing the concentration of animals in the meat-processing industry. The government’s goal is to fight monopolization and promote competition across the economy. They encourage smaller farms, ranches, new farmers, and tribal producers to apply. But are more animal farms really what we need right now?

Factory farms create a tremendous amount of pollution, take up a massive amount of water, and have an extremely negative impact on the environment.

Globally, 37% of methane emissions come from livestock production. Methane can trap up to 100 times more heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide over five years. Another harmful gas produced by the industry, nitrous oxide, is about 296 times more potent than carbon dioxide. When nitrous oxide mixes with ammonia, it creates nitric acid, which causes acid rain, sucks minerals from the soil, destroys ecosystems, and causes massive fish deaths.

The agriculture industry uses 34-76 trillion gallons of water every year. One 1/3 pound burger requires 660 gallons of water.

To put this into context, the average person uses 17 gallons of water during one shower, meaning one hamburger is equivalent to almost two months of showering.

The USDA believes that these grants will promote a fair market and ensure access to healthy and nutritious food in all communities. However, the meat industry produces food that is far from healthy.

The way we’ve been massively factory farming for years has already made a lasting impact on the animals in the meat industry.

It is now estimated that all nine billion chickens raised and slaughtered in the U.S. each year can trace their lineage back to a handful of breeds. These chickens have been manipulated over generations to grow at incredibly unnatural speeds and become larger than they ever have. According to The Humane League, chickens today are more than four times the size they were just 60 years ago.

The lack of genetic diversity throughout the meat industry poses a massive threat to public health and makes the animals more susceptible to outbreaks.

The government could be spending this money to change the unnatural way these animals are grown and focus on the real issue at hand. More farms, no matter how big or small will be devastating for the environment and public health.

Sign this petition to help stop abuse in the poultry industry.

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