Infographic: Is Factory Farming Making Us Sick?

Paula Jaramillo | 04.29.2014

The corporate food regime has given rise to concentrated animal feed operations (CAFOs)—large-scale industrial agricultural facilities that raise animals at high density in confined spaces. Since 1960 milk production has doubled, meat production has tripled, and egg production has quadrupled. However, this rapid increase in animal products using industrial methods has come at a significant cost to public health and to the environment.

In addition to the ethical dilemmas of abusing animals and restricting their natural behaviors, serious problems with waste management have yielded severe health and environmental impacts. Annual manure production of animals from CAFOs comprises more than double the amount of waste produced by the entire U.S. human population. Poor waste management often leads to infections that are passed on to consumers.

CAFOs are susceptible to three main pathogens that are making people sick: Campylobacter and salmonella, MRSA, and E. coli. Reports show that about 62 percent of chicken sold in supermarkets are contaminated with campylobacter; 23.4 percent of farms with caged hens test positive for salmonella; there are 80,000 MRSA infections in humans each year; and 16 percent of foodborne illnesses are caused by strains of E. coli. Manure also contains several contaminants that pollute the groundwater and the air through excess nitrogen and phosphorus, fish kills, toxic algal blooms, waste and pathogens in drinking water, and respiratory problems from dust and odors.

Is factory farming making us sick? I think so.

Check out the infographic below from for more information.

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Factory Farms Infographic