Collaborating to Improve Hog Farming Practices

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Aerial image by Mark Devries over a factory farm in North Carolina

As you know, for many years, by partnering with Waterkeeper Alliance, we have been fighting pollution produced by industrial hog farms (aka CAFOs), which keep large numbers of pigs in small, confined places.

In November, The Moore Charitable Foundation and Environmental Grantmakers Association hosted an hour-long webinar to discuss the impacts of CAFOs. Representatives from Waterkeeper, Food & Water Watch, and Johns Hopkins University spoke about their work and necessary reforms. Speakers included Bob Martin, Senior Policy Advisor, Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future,  Former Executive Director of the Pew Commission on Industrial Agriculture; Kelly Foster, Senior Attorney, Waterkeeper Alliance; Jillian Fry, Project Director, Johns Hopkins University; and Patty Lovera, Assistant Director, Food & Water Watch.

Speakers discussed violations of the Clean Water Act; the pressing public health concern of overuse of antibiotics at CAFOs; the spread of pollution, antimicrobial-resistant pathogens, the emission of greenhouse gases including methane and nitrous oxide, and the contamination of nearby water bodies from untreated manure lagoons.

Small farms are being shut out of business by large factory farms that monopolize the industry. Patty Lovera from Food & Water Watch stated, “Monopolies reduce competition, raise prices, drive out innovation and prevent newer innovative companies from getting into the market…These companies have become the deciders – in matters of policy and farm practice and have become the primary barrier to making a meaningful shift to a more sustainable and more equitable food system.”

Documentary filmmaker Mark Devries has captured video footage of this issue depicting massive lagoons of untreated hog waste in North Carolina. In Devries 2013 film “Speciesism,” a two-year investigation highlights the dire consequences of waste management on factory farms across the United States. Learn more about his work here.

We must come together to fight this harmful industry and find solutions. I am hopeful that the webinar and new video footage will help spread the word on CAFOs and inspire action. Do your part by pledging to support sustainable farms, not animal factories.

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