Best Of Charleston 2014, building, CAFO, Colorado, community, Dr. Martin Luther King, environment, factory farm, factory farm map, injustice, justice, manure, map, Montrose, near, nearby, Pennsylvania, severe density, smell, vegan, vegetarian
For our recent ski trip to Telluride, Colorado (where I had all sorts of wonderful vegan adventures!), we flew into the nearby town of Montrose.
It was exciting to see the majestic Rocky Mountains come into view from the plane as we approached…just breathtaking!
Montrose has a tiny airport, so instead of pulling up to a gate, you exit straight onto the tarmac.
When our plane door finally opened and we started down the steps, though, my excitement abruptly turned into overwhelming sadness and distress.
The very distinct and strong smell of manure was present, even though there were no cows in sight, and I knew from that cue that a factory farm – and all the misery inside – was somewhere nearby.
A factory farm, also known as a Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO), holds tens of thousands, and sometimes millions, of animals in confined spaces until they’re big enough for slaughter.
In our country, 9 to 10 billion animals are raised and killed for food each year, and around 99% of those come from factory farms.
According to the HSUS, “factory farm” isn’t a technical term; instead, “it refers to massive, industrialized facilities that often put profits ahead of animal welfare, treating farm animals not as individuals, but more like units on a production line.”
They treat animals as commodities to be exploited for profit, and go to great lengths to make the most money out of them that they can.
This includes mutilating them without pain relief, confining them so intensely that they can’t turn around, and pumping them with antibiotics and hormones to keep them just alive enough to get to slaughter.
Could all of this be happening near you?
The Factory Farm Map
There is a great website, Factory Farm Map, that shows where factory farms are located.
It’s run by Food & Water Watch, a non-profit “that advocates for common sense policies that will result in healthy, safe food and access to safe and affordable drinking water.”
Sure enough, when I looked up Montrose County on the Factory Farm Map, it was listed as a severely dense area for factory farms. And boy, could you smell it.
I had a similar experience in Pennsylvania when driving back from our visit to Farm Sanctuary. This time, a sight, not a smell, clued me in.
I saw an unmistakable factory farm as we drove down 15 South near Biglerville, PA. The tell-tale, huge, windowless buildings with a manure lagoon gave it away.
The animals and their suffering couldn’t be seen, but I knew it was there. And now you know what goes on in those buildings too.
When we got home, I checked the Factory Farm Map, and, no surprise, it showed a high density of factory farms in that county as well.
Check the map here. Is there a factory farm in your proverbial backyard? Or in your child’s community? Or your parent’s?
Factory farms, with their pollution and cruelty, are a threat to all of us, no matter where we live.
As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said:
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
And factory farms are the epitome of injustice to animals, people, and the Earth.
What We Can Do
Happily, we are not powerless in the face of these monstrous factory farms.
We can do something about them!
And it’s a lot easier than you think.
All we have to do is choose delicious, healthy vegetarian and vegan meals. YUM! How great is that?!
Well, darn, I have to eat:
Hard work, huh? 🙂
Doesn’t it feel great to know that we can do something? Now it’s just up to us to do it.
To Eating for Justice!