A recent U.S. study shows that California industrial dairy farms are responsible for smog in the city of Los Angeles just as much as automobiles’with possibly even greater contributions.
This news is one more addition to the long list of environmental degradations caused by the factory farming system, including their contribution to global warming through greenhouse gas emissions, water pollution, and deforestation.
In the last few years there has been an alarming rise of factory farms in developing nations. Most of these regions are without proper air or water quality regulations and/or enforcement (much less animal welfare regulations). Many major cities in these countries have already reached the threshold of dangerously polluted air quality, wreaking havoc on the city dwellers’ respiratory health and daily lives. Beijing and New Delhi, for instance, in countries whose governments are set to use the factory farming system to the fullest extent, have experienced smog so intense it causes highway, airport, and business closures as citizens scramble to the safety of indoor filtered air. China’s lung cancer mortality rate has risen almost 20% in the last five years, while India’s has risen almost 50%.
As science is showing us on a regular basis the negative impacts of this agricultural model, is it time these countries begin to reconsider the direction they are heading and instead shift towards an alternative, more sustainable plant-based agricultural model? Or do they truly want to continue on a path that will only exacerbate the currently distressing environmental conditions while undermining human health and animal well-being?
Photo courtesy of Ben Amstutz