Factory farms are bad news for everything from the environment, to the animals, to the fight for clean, organic and non-GMO food.
But it’s hard to fight something without adequate information, and that’s one of the main roadblocks that has been facing the clean food movement in regards to these farms.
Recent laws that fall under the category of “Ag Gag” regulations designed to prevent investigators from uncovering violations are just the tip of the iceberg.
Thankfully, however, more information on factory farms is finally becoming available, including in the form of a map of such farms in the United States which has the potential to serve as an important resource for the small-scale organic farming movement going forward.
Charting Factory Farms in the U.S. (The Numbers Are Not Pretty)
The map, which was created by the Food & Water Watch website, features color-coded charts of each state, breaking down statistics on the numbers, average numbers, and types of animals that can be found in each county.
Estimations of the total number of animals in each state that are being raised on factory farms is also available using Census data, allowing people to see exactly how big the problem is in their neck of the woods.
In California for example, an estimated 48 million broiler hens were being raised on factory farms for human use as of the 2012 Census, over a million less than 2007’s data but still an incredibly high tally.
The average number of broiler hens per factory farm site in California, you may wonder? A whopping 1,787,706 according to the 2012 Census data.
Different states’ factory farms contain different types of animals with different purposes, of course. For example in Iowa, there were over 50 million egg-laying hens living on factory farms in 2012.
Factory farms are of course bad news for the health and well-being of the land, people and animals, and a boon for massive agribusiness conglomerates like Monsanto, especially considering the high amounts of mostly GMO corn and soy that are being fed to these animals.
Runoff waste also contaminates nearby waterways to this highly unnatural way of raising animals, creating “dead zones” in large bodies of water like the Gulf of Mexico and contributing to countless environmental problems.
High amounts of antibiotics and drugs are also allowed to be given to these animals. To make matters worse, the over-use of antibiotics is creating an epidemic of resistant bacteria that may cause yet another potential health crisis.
Thankfully, while most of the Midwest is a hotbed for such farms, there are many areas across the country where they are not present. Alaska’s map appears to be completely empty, for example.
According to Food & Water Watch, there are five things that concerned people can do to help stem the tide of factory farm abuse and its corresponding issues.
For more information, check out their report by clicking on this link.
You can also view the full map and go state-by-state for information on the number and types of factory farmed animals, view rankings, and much more by clicking on this link.