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August 30, 2011

Factory Farming’s Toll on the Environment

For years, leading environmental organizations have condemned industrial-style animal farms because of the effect of concentrating so many animals in such a small space. The massive volume of waste they produce goes untreated, and it can contaminate water supplies and cause other local environmental effects, if not managed properly.

Breeding pigs in gestation crates
Factory farms produce huge amounts of waste.

One of Europe’s leading farm animal welfare groups, Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), lays out this issue out well in its new video project called “Factory Farming Facts,” which details industrial animal agribusiness’ impact on natural resources, human health, and animal welfare. It’s worth watching.

As CIWF chief executive Philip Lymbery underscores in one of the videos, "Factory Farming: Impact on our Resources and Environment," the way that we raise animals brings up fundamental questions about resource use and pollution. It takes enormous quantities of water, grain, and other resources to produce meat and to rear animals for other products, such as milk and eggs.

There’s no issue in the realm of animal welfare on which we can have a bigger impact on than animal agriculture. Most of us sit down several times a day to a plate of food, and the choices we make there have enormous consequences for so many animals caught up in our industrial food production system, as well as for the environment.

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