*Information courtesy of Organic Consumers Association*
Random Factory Farm Facts
- Globally, about 65 billion animals are slaughtered for food every year.
- In the U.S., nearly 10.2 billion land animals were raised and killed for food in 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Of those, 9,210 million (91%) were chickens raised for meat, 464 million (4.5%) were chickens raised for eggs, 276 million (2.5%) were turkeys, and the remaining 202 million (2%) were cows, pigs, other mammals, and ducks and geese. In addition to the 9,278 million animals who were slaughtered, the total figure includes the 875 million animals, or 8.6%, who died lingering deaths from disease, injury, starvation, suffocation, maceration, or other atrocities of animal farming and transport.
- About 95 percent of all poultry and the majority of beef and pork come from factory farms, or Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs).
- Every year factory farms dump 220 billion gallons of animal waste onto farmland and into our waterways, posing a major threat to public health.
- The raw liquefied sewage produced by CAFOs is 25- 100 times more concentrated than human sewage, plus has milk house waste, blood, dead animals, sanitizing and other chemicals mixed in, all of it stored in an open pit that holds millions of gallons…often…contaminating drinking water intakes, threatening recreational users and harming fish and other wildlife.
- Most factory farms store animal waste in open lagoons as large as several football fields. Lagoons routinely burst, sending millions of gallons of manure into waterways and spreading microbes that can cause gastroenteritis, fevers, kidney failure, and death.
- CAFO manure has contaminated drinking water in many rural areas, caused fish kills, and contributed to oxygen-depleted “dead zones” (areas devoid of valuable marine life) in the Gulf of Mexico, the Chesapeake Bay, and elsewhere.
- Four-fifths of the antibiotics used in the United States are given to completely healthy farm animals.
- Force-feeding animals antibiotics helps breed antibiotic-resistant superbugs (bacteria that antibiotics can’t kill). And every year over 70,000 Americans die because of bacterial resistance.
- The USDA estimates that more than 335 million tons of “dry matter” waste (the portion of waste remaining after water is removed) is produced annually on farms in the United States, representing almost a third of the total municipal and industrial waste produce. Animal feeding operations annually produce about 100 times more manure than the amount of human sewage sludge processed in U.S. municipal wastewater plants. Unlike human waste, the law does not require that livestock waste be treated.
- Twenty-six billion pounds of beef from 34 million cattle is produced annually in the U.S., more than in any other country.
- Hog manure has ten to 100 times more concentrated pathogens than human waste. We treat human sewage, but we don’t treat animal waste.
- The methane releases from billions of imprisoned animals on factory farms are 70 times more damaging per ton to the earth’s atmosphere than CO2, according to a 2006 report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
- Rearing cattle produces more greenhouse gases than cars, according to a United Nations report.
- CAFOs release over 400 separate gases, mostly due to the large amounts of manure they produce. The principal gases released are hydrogen sulfide, methane, ammonia and carbon dioxide.
- Twenty-three million pounds of antibiotics are added to animal feed every year, to make the animals grow faster.
- The U.S. is the only country that feeds slaughterhouse waste, blood and manure to livestock.
- Manure can contain pathogens, antibiotics, drug-resistant bacteria, hormones, heavy metals and other compounds.
- Agricultural Waste is the number-one form of well-water contaminants in the U.S., where at least 4.5 million people are exposed to dangerously high nitrate levels in their drinking water.
- Japan inspects 100 percent of its beef for mad cow disease; the European Union inspects 25 percent; the U.S. inspects less than one percent.
Sources and Resource
Cesspools of Shame: How Factory Farm Lagoons and Sprayfields Threaten Environmental and Public Health