Each year in the United States, 10 billion land animals are raised and killed for meat, eggs, and milk. In factory farms, these sentient animals are intensively confined by the tens if not hundreds of thousands. Confined farm animals produce almost 500 million tons of manure annually, three times more raw waste than generated by Americans (source: Humane Society).
Industrial-Scale Pollution from Industrial-Scale Farms
(source: Environmental Impacts of Factory Farm Manure:An HSUS Fact Sheet)
Factory farm waste is a major pollution issue. Unlike the small, independent or family-owned farms that they are driving out of business, industrial-sized factory farms produce industrial-scale, toxic pollution that can—and does—contaminate nearby streams, lakes, and local water bodies, threatening drinking water supplies with pathogens, chemicals, and antibiotics added to feed. Yet factory farms don’t only pollute water. Manure waste can emit hundreds of gases, including hydrogen sulfide, which can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation, and ammonia, an irritant that, at high levels, can cause death. In fact, agricultural operations are the single largest source of toxic ammonia air pollution in the United States. The air around factory farms also becomes contaminated with suspended dust particles, which have been linked to asthma, bronchitis, and other serious health concerns.
The wealth of information linking factory farming with illness in nearby communities led the largest association of public health professionals to evaluate the issue.
When you shop in your mega chain grocery store and buy cheap food from fast food restaurants you are supporting a farming system that is not only cruel, but bad for the environment.