CAFO’s: I am not a vegetarian, but this is… frightening!

In my environmental organization at my college, a girl had recently raised awareness about CAFO’s by giving a brief, yet informative, presentation.
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First things first, the abbreviation of CAFO’s (kay-foes) is Concentrated/Confined Animal Feeding Operations.

The presenter had based her information from a book called “Animal Factory: the Looming Threat of Industrial Pig, Dairy, and Poultry Farms to Humans and the Environment” by David Kirby.

As she spoke, I found myself horrified by the mere fact that I had never even heard of CAFO’s. After the meeting, I found myself rushing back to my dorm to order this book off of amazon. Fortunately for me, it arrived just in time for Spring Break.

The book, Animal Factory, is absolutely amazing.

The author is not biased saying that CAFO’s are bad, but he isn’t saying they are good either. He isn’t looking for solutions or answers, but rather raising awareness about what is going on. He even says that many people do not what to know where their food comes from and it is just unfortunate.

Okay, I am not a saint either. I’ll admit that it is not always the first thing on my mind.  However, when it comes down to it, I would like to know where my food comes from.

Anyway, even if you, one person, cannot stop CAFO’s from happening, at least you are aware. It is much better to face the truth and know rather than being naive and being stuck in the dark. I urge all you readers to think about your food, at least every once an a while. Perhaps if more people were educated on the topic people might be opposed to it and petition to ban or cut back on these factories. Animals, even those destined to be slaughtered, deserve to have a decent life.

I read an article about how two major animal factories in Australia are shutting down. Maybe, just maybe, this might some day be an option for the United States. Right now, it seems hard to imagine since Americans love their meat…

Back to the “Animal Factory”, what I have read so far, Kirby had researched and interviewed 3 families’ stories about how CAFO’s had majorly affected their lives. Each family lives in a different state: North Carolina, Illinois, and Washington.

Definitely go buy the book, you won’t regret it!

Oh yeah, one of the most DISTURBING things about CAFO’s is the “lagoons“. When you have thousands upon hundreds of  thousands animals crammed in one area, their waste has got to go somewhere. The solution they use? They put all the waste into man-made lagoons which have toxic smelling fumes that can be smelled from miles away. These lagoons contain: ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, methane, carbon dioxide, pathogens, e.coli, cryptosporidium, antibiotics, hormones, and heavy metals. In fact, some of these lagoons turn the color pink because  of interactions between  blood, bacteria, still-born piglets, chemicals, and waste. If this doesn’t sound bad enough, it gets worse. These “lagoons” sometimes OVERFLOW causing a whole string of problems, as you could imagine.

CAFO pink lagoon

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