On Tuesday, three federal judges struck down a loophole created by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2008 that allowed factory farms to hide evidence of dangerous emissions.
According to Waterkeeper Alliance, nearly three-quarters of U.S. ammonia emissions are caused by concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs—massive factory farms confining animals by the thousands or even millions without outdoor access. The animals produce enormous quantities of feces and urine, which are usually pumped outside into “lagoons” for storage.
Ammonia is not the only threat: These giant cesspools also release dangerous levels of hydrogen sulfide, nitrous oxide, methane, and volatile organic compounds. As a result, animals, farmworkers, and local residents are forced to breathe toxic air. These hazardous substances also eventually redeposit, contributing to soil and water pollution.
MFA's groundbreaking drone footage reveals the manure lagoons and waste disposal methods that the factory farming industry doesn't want you to see.
In 2008, the EPA decided to exempt most factory farms from reporting dangerous emissions. The EPA claimed reporting was “unnecessary,” as the federal government was “unlikely” to respond anyway (just think about that for a moment).
In reversing the decision, the court acknowledged the grave risks of air pollution from CAFOs. “People have become seriously ill and even died,” the court found.
Now CAFOs are required to report emissions—and local communities will be better off for it.
Did you know that nearly all the meat, egg, and dairy products consumed in the United States come from CAFOs? Or that animal ag emissions are one of the biggest contributors to climate change?
You can choose not to support this industry and its environmental havoc by leaving animals off your plate. Visit ChooseVeg.com to find out how.
*Photo by FactoryFarmDrones.com