Herd About It?
By Ana Grarian
The other night I was out to dinner in the city with a friend of mine. We parked behind a Prius with a bumper sticker that read EAT LOCAL. My friend commented, I wonder if they know that here, eating local, means eating chemicals?. After a brief discussion about eating organic and local small farms, etc., my friend said. To me it’s all about the environment. Organic is nice but Organic can be factory farms too. If the water is polluted it hurts us all. My friend is involved in a civil suit against a neighboring factory farm that diverted, and poluted a local waterway, among other things. You can read more about that at the website below.
Of course the eat local movement is about the environment too. It’s about reducing our carbon footprint by limiting shipping. It also means you can eat from farms that you know, so you can be aware of other environmental factors involved. And it includes a grow your own element which provides the additional healthful benefit of good exercise as well as good clean food.
As our discussion continued she mentioned a program called Poisoned Waters . You can watch it online here…… http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/poisonedwaters/view/ . It’s about the pollution of the Chesapeake Bay and Puget Sound. One of the contributing factors in the Chesapeake is chicken farms. Large industrial sized chicken farms, with more than a million chickens on one farm. On the Delmar peninsula in 2008 5.7 million chickens were raised, producing 1.5 BILLION pounds of manure. That’s more poop than NYC, WA. DC, San Francisco and Atlanta GA combined. Leachate from the improper handling of this manure is poisoning the Cheseapeake with high levels of Phosphorous, Nitrogen and Arsenic, and is a significant contributor to dead zones in the bay.
CAFO’s of all types cause similar pollution effects wherever they are located. It’s important to note that this contamination is going into ground water and bodies of water that supply drinking water systems both rural and urban.
Enough of me go watch the movie. It’s a real eye opener. The segment on chicken farms is number 3, but watch the whole thing, it’s very thorough and gives you lots to think about.
Oh did you know that one way they dreamed up to get rid of some of the poultry manure was to mix it into livestock feed? And why? Because it’s high in nitrogen, which is how protein is measured. YUM! This is illegal in Canada for health resons and I believe has since been made illegal in the US. You know it’s natural for chickens to poke through cow pies to pick out the undigested grain and stuff but it ain’t natural for cows to eat chicken poop.