Just a little reminder about factory farming from the CDC:
Public Health Concerns [of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations aka Factory Farms]
People who work with livestock may develop adverse health effects, including chronic and acute respiratory illnesses and musculoskeletal injuries, and may be exposed to infections that travel from animals to humans. Residents in areas surrounding CAFOs report nuisances, such as odor and flies. In studies of CAFOs, CDC has shown that chemical and infectious compounds from swine and poultry waste are able to migrate into soil and water near CAFOs. Scientists do not yet know whether or how the migration of these compounds affects human health.
[In 2003, the nation’s 238,000 feeding operations produced 500 million tons of manure.] Pollutants possibly associated with manure-related discharges at CAFOs include:
- Antibiotics, which may contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant pathogens
- Pathogens, such as parasites, bacteria, and viruses, which can cause disease in animals and humans
- Nutrients, such as ammonia, nitrogen, and phosphorus, which can reduce oxygen in surface waters, encourage the growth of harmful algal blooms, and contaminate drinking-water sources
- Pesticides and hormones, which researchers have associated with hormone-related changes in fish
- Solids, such as feed and feathers, which can limit the growth of desirable aquatic plants in surface waters and protect disease-causing microorganisms
- Trace elements, such as arsenic and copper, which can contaminate surface waters and possibly harm human health
Researchers do not yet know whether or how these or other substances from CAFOs may affect human health. Therefore, CDC supports efforts to address these questions.
Sure, the CDC makes very cautious statements and suggest “more study” rather than an agricultural overhaul. And the article certainly doesn’t suggest that you have any individual power yourself as a citizen or consumer. But you know better. You know that you can “vote with your dollar.” You know that you can choose vegan.