Posted in Life

Beyond the Numbers

Beyond the 7 Billion people worldwide (Increasing by approx 211,000/day (77 million/year), 50 Million acres of prime U.S. mid-west farmland now growing corn, and 80 percent of it feeding the cattle we eat 10-20% sent out of country, and the remaining used for corn syrup and fuel, our way of life needs help now.

From 1980 to 2011, the number of hog operations in the U.S. dropped from 666,000 to roughly 69,000, yet the number of hogs sold remains almost the same.  About 70% of U.S. beef cattle come from farms with at least 5,000 head of cattle.  10 large companies produce more than 90 percent of the nation’s poultry. Sorry, the numbers can go on and on.

Beyond the numbers, It is extremely critical to know (and really understand)  that the erosion of our land, water, food and air is occurring every second of every day!  As we get up in the morning and open the refrigerator door, purchase our meats in the stores, and go on like it is a never ending source without any notice or care to the future of us, or our children if they are born healthy, unhealthy or at all.

Beyond the instances of occurrences, please take note of the below. Here is what it’s doing and where.  There are many more that what you will see here.

In California officials have identified cows, as the major source of nitratepollution in more than 100,000 square miles of polluted groundwater.  In 1996 the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) established a link between spontaneous abortions and high nitrate levels in Indiana drinking water wells located close to feedlots. High levels of nitrates in drinking water also increase the risk of methemoglobinemia, or “blue-baby syndrome,” which can kill infants.

Animal waste contains disease-causing pathogens, such as SalmonellaE. coliCryptosporidium, and fecal coliform, which can be 10 to 100 times more concentrated than in human waste. More than 40 diseases can be transferred to humans through manure.  Manure from dairy cows is thought to have contributed to the disastrous Cryptosporidium contamination of Milwaukee’s drinking water in 1993, which killed more than 100 people, made 400,000 sick.

In this country, roughly 29 million pounds of antibiotics (about 80 percent of the nation’s antibiotics use in total) are added to animal feed every year, mainly to speed livestock growth. This widespread use of antibiotics on animals contributes to the rise of resistant bacteria, making it harder to treat human illnesses.

Large hog farms emit hydrogen sulfide, a gas that most often causes flu-like symptoms in humans, but at high concentrations can lead to brain damage.

Huge open-air waste lagoons, often as big as several football fields, are prone to leaks and spills. In 1995, an 8 acre hog-waste lagoon in North Carolina burst,spilling 25 million gallons of manure into the New River. The spill killed about 10 million fish and closed 364,000 acres of coastal wetlands to shell fishing.  When Hurricane Floyd hit North Carolina in 1999, at least five manure lagoons burst and approximately 47 lagoons were completely flooded.

In 2011, an Illinois hog farm spilled 200,000 gallons of manure into a creek, killing over 110,000 fish. In 2012, a California dairy left over 50 manure covered cow carcasses rotting around its property and polluting nearby waters.

Runoff of chicken and hog waste from factory farms in Maryland and North Carolina is believed to have contributed to outbreaks of Pfiesteria piscicida,killing millions of fish and causing skin irritation, short-term memory loss and other cognitive problems in local people. 

Nutrients in animal waste cause algal blooms, which use up oxygen in the water, contributing to a “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico where there’s not enough oxygen to support aquatic life. The dead zone fluctuates in size each year, extending a record 8,500 square miles during the summer of 2002 and stretching over 7,700 square miles during the summer of 2010.

Ammonia, a toxic form of nitrogen released in gas form during waste disposal, can be carried more than 300 miles through the air before being dumped back onto the ground or into the water, where it causes algal blooms and fish kills.

There is a dire need for national, regional and local awareness of, and serious change now!  Whether you believe or not, or it is not close to home for you, why wait until it affects you or tragedy (I mean tragedy you thought wouldn’t happen to you) happens.  Don’t be blind to what is happening right down the road from you, because it be right in front of you and you don’t even know it. Under where you walk, within the air you breathe, in every cup of water you drink and in the uniform and oh so tailored and pretty packaged food you buy.