Raising livestock in CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations) generates staggering environmental, health, and societal costs—with taxpayers left footing the bill.
• Foul odors and contaminated water caused by CAFOs reduce property values in surrounding communities an estimated $26 billion nationally.
• The overuse of antibiotics at CAFOs leads to drug-resistant illnesses that are more difficult to treat. The public health impacts associated with antibiotic resistance
from CAFOs cost an estimated $1.5 billion to $3 billion per year.
• Leakage of manure from storage “lagoons” at CAFOs contaminates soil and groundwater. Cleaning contaminated
soil under U.S. hog and dairy CAFOs would cost an estimated
• CAFOs generate about 300 million tons of manure per year; distributing this manure to enough farmland to reduce both air and water pollution (to comply with federal standards) would cost as much as $1.16 billion per year.
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
The Hidden Cost of CAFO's
This article from the Union of Concerned Scientists on CAFO's (Confined Animal Feeding Operations, or factory farms) had a particular resonance to me after driving on California's Highway 5 last month. Not only the smell would turn you off from beef and dairy for a long time, but also the sight of thousands of cows, standing in their own filth with no green grass to graze on, would do it for you permanently.