While the implications for the animals are obvious, the impact on the environment is very well concealed from public view. When you raise thousands of animals, youâ€™re left with a lot of waste.
In a small farm setting, that waste is used to naturally fertilize the land, and in that way it becomes quite healthy.
In a factory farm setting, however, there is no way you can use millions of gallons of animal waste in a â€śhealthyâ€ť way. So, large â€ślagoonsâ€ť are created to hold the waste, or excessive amounts of the waste are sprayed onto crops in the area.
It is not at all unusual for this waste to leach into groundwater or run off into surface waters. At Farm Sanctuary, a farm animal protection organization, they explain what this means for the future of the environment:
â€śThe quantity of waste produced by farm animals in the U.S. is more than 130 times greater than that produced by humans. Agricultural runoff has killed millions of fish, and is the main reason why 60% of America’s rivers and streams are “impaired.”
In states with concentrated animal agriculture, the waterways have become rife with pfiesteria bacteria. In addition to killing fish, pfiesteria causes open sores, nausea, memory loss, fatigue and disorientation in humans.â€ť