Report Calls Factory Farming a Threat to Public Safety

May 01, 2008 09:00 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
A Pew Commission report finds that factory farming is economically detrimental, a threat to public health and in serious need of reform.

30-Second Summary

The Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production report finds that the “‘economies of scale’ used to justify factory farming practices are largely an illusion, perpetuated by a failure to account for associated costs,” according to The Washington Post.

The report, sponsored by the Pew Charitable Trusts and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, advises the United States to prohibit the routine use of antibiotics in farm animal feed, which it says may promote drug-resistant bacteria.

The report also suggests “a phaseout of all intensive confinement systems that prevent the free movement of farm animals, and more vigorous enforcement of antitrust laws in the increasingly consolidated agricultural arena,” The Washington Post reports.

The Pew Commission alleges that members of the livestock industry resisted assisting the researchers and even threatened to pull funding from the universities and scientists that participated. However, these charges have been questioned.

In addition, the report says that the livestock industry emits 18 percent of all greenhouse gas pollution. In reaction, Baltimore Sun writer Tom Pelton suggests that, because “cows and pigs are worse for the climate than cars and airplanes,” eco-conscientious Americans might consider becoming vegetarians.

Despite the livestock industry's large environmental impact, the Environmental Protection Agency has been pushing to remove a law requiring industrial farmers to report their toxic gas emissions. On April 2, 2008, Robert P. Martin responded to the EPA’s move in Oregon newspaper The Statesman, writing that the exemption “is not only bad policy but an abrogation of public trust.”

Headline Link: ‘Report Targets Costs Of Factory Farming’

Background: ‘Livestock Lobby Meddled in Study, Authors Say’

Opinion & Analysis: The potential threat of factory farming

Related Topics: Pork, poultry tied to antibiotic-resistant infections; genetically modified crops

Reference: The Pew Commission report and findingDulcinea’s Web Guide to Socially Responsible Food


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