Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The meat industry is full of shit

According to a report just released by the US Government Accountability Office, a large factory farm can produce 1.6 million tons of shit a year, more than the 1.4 million tons produced by the entire city of Houston, the fourth largest city in America (see here and here).

So, it's no news that factory farms are awful polluters. But it turns out that I had no idea just how awful they really are. 1.6 million tons of shit every year from just one farm. More shit than all the inhabitants of Houston combined. That is a lot of shit.

Consider the case of poor North Carolina:
In one example, GAO said that five contiguous North Carolina counties in 2002 had an estimated 7.5 million hogs that could have produced as much as 15.5 million tons of manure.
15.5 million tons of manure is equivalent to 11 Houstons.

The state of North Carolina has 100 counties. The entire state of North Carolina has a population of 9 million, which is less than 4 Houstons worth of people. Meanwhile 5% of its counties are producing 11 Houstons worth of shit.

What are they doing with all that shit? What could they possibly do?

All that shit poisons the soil and poisons the water; meanwhile, fumes poison the air. (It should come as no surprise that the EPA is doing a shitty job of regulating all that shit.)

The moral of the story: factory farms are poison. To eat factory farmed meat is to contribute to the production of poison. Dinner for you could mean poison for a North Carolinian. So please don't eat meat unless you've verified that it's not from a factory farm (if you must eat meat at all).


Anonymous said...

Not to mention the ethical concerns with eating meat. See this video if you're interested:

Neil Sinhababu said...

I'm happy to link to somebody who's making this point! (and thanks for linking War or Car)