Recent bird flu outbreaks across Asian poultry farms and increasing government concern over the massive fecal discharges from livestock factory farms reveal just some of the problems inherent in factory farming.
In the case of pig farming alone, researchers have found that these animals on average produce at least three times as much fecal matter as humans, with harmful pathogens that are at least 10 times more concentrated.
Canadian investigative environmental journalist Ms. Denise Proulx, author of the book, “Pig Farms!” described several crises of these factory farming operations, among which is the widespread practice of spraying millions of liters of untreated waste into the air after being stored sometimes for years in toxic liquid holding lagoons.
Denise Proulx – Canadian journalist, author (Porcheries!) (F): For the sake of profit, they have allowed less space between the rivers and the fields for spreading manure. So there is an excessively significant leaching taking place. There are 8 million pigs in the livestock industry in rotation during 3 to 4 rotation periods per year.
We know for sure that there is currently too much liquid manure for the absorption capacity of the land. If you have more liquid manure than the available lands, then you just go and spread it over on the same land; so at some point there’s of course saturation, there is outflow through the soil, etc. It’s inevitable.
VOICE: As the problem of pollution, odor, and overconsumption of clean water becomes more and more critical in pig farms everywhere, different attempts are being made to prevent the dangerous environmental and health impacts. The Formosan (Taiwanese) government, for instance, is planning to provide financial incentives to pig farms to modify their facilities and even train the pigs to use a designated toilet, hoping to reduce the amount of water used and liquid feces generated.
Although the highly intelligent pigs would learn quickly, the method is forecast to save at most only half the 180 million liters of clean water used daily in Formosa just to clean pig pens.
In Canada, a decade-long experiment costing multi-millions of dollars has produced genetically modified (GM) pigs whose fecal matter is said to contain reduced levels of the toxic contaminant phosphorus.
Although it may seem less polluting than a normal pig, the so-called “Enviropig,” which contains DNA from mice and E. coli bacteria, is not yet approved for the market, in part due to the unknown health risks of genetically modified products.
With appreciation to Ms. Proulx and all others working to raise awareness by sharing this vital information, we pray that the health threats generated by the meat industry will cease through the wise and conscientious choices of consumers. May we protect both our vitality and environment for good by turning to safe, organic vegan lifestyles.
During an October 2009 videoconference in Hong Kong, Supreme Master Ching Hai addressed the hazards of manipulating nature through methods such as genetic modification, while discussing a better alternative for food production.