Salon: Factory farms pollute the environment and poison drinking water
Digital newsmagazine Salon reported on one of the environmental risks associated with large-scale, industrial farming: high volumes of animal waste, which pollute water and the surrounding area with dangerous pathogens and chemicals.
Reporter Daniel Ross talked to Sacoby Wilson, associate professor in the School of Public Health’s Maryland Institute of Applied Environmental Health, about the regulations surrounding animal waste disposal at big farms.
While regulations do exist, “they [industrial farm operators] have a very strong hook in the legislature,” enabling them to avoid more stringent restrictions, Wilson told Salon.
If more restrictions were introduced, policymakers would have to ensure that the large, industrial firms operating the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) bore the brunt of industry-wide compliance, not the small, family farmers.
“We’re not anti-farmers, we’re pro-farmers,” Wilson told Salon. “We’re not anti-development, we are pro-sustainable development.”
The Salon article highlights last year’s Hurricane Florence which, beyond more publicized environmental effects, also littered North Carolina with animal waste from its industrial farms.
Wilson, whose research focuses broadly on environmental health and justice, leads multiple research projects in the Carolina lowcountry, where he examines pollution and tests strategies for communities to combat it.