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Animal Equality Urges USDA to Stop Supporting Factory Farms

In comments to the USDA, 100+ groups highlight interconnected harms stemming from intensive farming.
June 22, 2021

In response to the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) call for public input on its “Department-wide effort to improve and reimagine the supply chains for the production, processing and distribution of agricultural commodities and food products,” Animal Equality joined Farm Sanctuary, the Center for Biological Diversity, and over 100 other organizations in submitting comments that highlight the extensive problems that factory farming poses to animals, rural communities, the environment, and other vulnerable entities. The goal is to convince the USDA to stop legitimizing and propping up intensive animal agriculture, otherwise known as “factory farming.” The devastation caused by this industry is just too great.

THE COMMENTS DESCRIBE THE FOLLOWING:

  • How the U.S. food system supply chain – particularly as it relates to intensive animal agriculture – creates immense, interconnected harms that the government has been perpetuating for decades through subsidies and other problematic policies. To address these challenges, Animal Equality is urging the USDA to “invest in food that nourishes people” – specifically, by supporting the production of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and wholesome grains and not intensive farming of land and sea animals.
  • The critical connection between animal agriculture, environmental devastation and climate change, providing further reason for the USDA to withdraw its longstanding support of this unsustainable food system. As explained in the comments submitted to USDA, “Today’s food system drives unsustainable GHG (greenhouse gas) emissions, changes in land-use, and resource consumption. One-third of global GHG emissions comes from the food system. Monoculture animal feed crop production alone causes approximately 6.5% of all anthropogenic global GHG emissions. 80% of deforestation in the Amazon serves cattle farming. The beef industry causes 83% of land-use transformation in agriculture, a critical accelerant in mass species extinction.” Put simply, continued support of intensive animal farming will result in continued environmental destruction.
  • Factory farming is the most likely cause of the next global pandemic. This is not a hypothetical concern: the H1N1 “Swine Flu” pandemic was very likely caused by industrial hog farming, and SARS. Three in four emerging infectious diseases come from animal-human interactions via a process known as “spillover” transmission. As intensive animal agriculture has increased in recent years, so has spillover transmission of these deadly viruses. Today, industrial agriculture and live-animal export markets remain critical sources of pandemic risk.

TO ADDRESS THESE ISSUES, THE COALITION IS CALLING FOR THE USDA TO:

  • Stop subsidizing the construction of factory farms and the consolidation of the meat industry.
  • Support dietary guidelines, government procurement programs, and agricultural subsidies that reflect best-available health and environmental science literature (i.e., heavy on plant-based foods).
  • And other improvements

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

White we push the USDA to stop supporting industrial farming (financially and otherwise), you can take action to help animals and the environment by simply reducing or eliminating your consumption of animal-derived foods! There’s simply no reason to continue to support the meat industry, especially when there are so many delicious plant-based recipes and products out there.

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