There are more than 15,000 Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) in the United States, each one holding between 1,000 and 100,000 animals in small spaces devoid of vegetation. This system of farming is hidden to many consumers, as are its true costs. The impact of CAFOs on rural communities, local businesses, the environment, animal welfare and public health are huge, but are rarely accounted in its operating budget or the price consumers pay for its products. These products are often cheap, but only because the price does not reflect the hidden costs which consumers are in fact paying for in other ways.
Chaired by Andrew Gunther of A Greener World, this session asks, what are these hidden costs? And what can be done to improve this destructive farming system? Kendra Kimbirauskas, CEO, Socially Responsible Agricultural Project (SRAP), speaks about the impact of CAFOs on local communities and her work helping communities to fight CAFOs; Keeve Nachman, Programme Director, Center for a Livable Future, speaks about the devastating costs of antibiotic resistance, which has been caused in part by their overuse in livestock; Professor Viney Aneja, North Carolina State University, speaks about the impact of pollution and emissions from CAFOs; Kim Lyerly, MD, Duke University, addresses the impact of this pollution on public health, revealing results of a new study; and Leah Garcés, Director, Compassion in World Farming USA, speaks about animal welfare and reveals the reality of how livestock feed is produced.
Photograph: Greg Goebel
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