Factory farms costly to entire communities - 18 May 2009   
 
Factory farms costly to entire communities - 18 May 2009  
. The World Health Organization has reported that the number of confirmed swine flu cases has grown to nearly 8,500 and has spread to 39 countries. Experts at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that the true number of infections in the US could exceed 100,000 nationwide.

 The CDC also stated that besides human transmission, the swine flu can be contracted through contact with infected pigs or environments contaminated with the virus. Some experts have drawn attention to factory farms as environments that can easily be contaminate in this way. Factory farm conditions also threaten human health in other ways, by discharging enormous quantities of untreated waste. The associated antibiotics, hormones and bacteria subsequently enters precious water supplies, causing serious health problems in humans. This is the case not only for pig factory farms, but also cow, dairy, and chicken intensive facilities.

In exploring some of the wider reaching costs of factory farming, Supreme Master Television spoke with Clayton Edwards of the City of Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA, home to around 900,000 people whose water has been severely affected by large-scale chicken farms in a neighboring state.

Clayton Edwards City of Tulsa Water Contamination from Factory Farms

Supreme Master TV(F): Do you have any sort of an idea of what the total costs are per year for Tulsa to clean up the water coming from the chicken farms in Arkansas?

Clayton Edwards – Deputy Director, Environmental Operations, City of Tulsa Public Works Department, USA (M): We had spent through the early years of this problem, probably US$5-6 million for additional studies, additional testing, chemicals to try to treat taste and odor. During this time we put a new US$80 million water treatment plant in service and it was not able to remove the taste and odor causing compound geosmin. We had to replace the filter media with granular activated carbon. And for one period of time, the geosmin concentrations were so high and the plant could not treat it, that we had to abandon that source of raw water for about a two-month period and go off an emergency supply.

Supreme Master TV(F): And if you were to quantify the amount of waste coming from the factory farms, how much is that relative to a city of the size of Tulsa?

Clayton Edwards (M): Based just on the phosphorus concentration of the litter, it was equivalent to a city the size of something like Dallas (population 2.4 million) of dumping their untreated waste in our watershed. And that’s just based on the phosphorus concentration.

VOICE: Unfortunately, many communities worldwide quietly suffer the harmful impacts of neighboring factory farms, either unaware or financially unable to respond in the way that the city of Tulsa did. Our prayers for all those affected by the devastating swine flu virus and other conditions that arise from large-scale livestock raising. May we recognize the full societal costs of such practices and shift to a plant-based diet for the healthy freedom of humans and animals alike.
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