Factory farms costly to entire communities - 18 May 2009
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
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
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.