Factory Farms Spawn Climate Disruption and Disease

60 percent of factory farms in poor countries

[This is a re-post from 2007. Meat production in factory farms are major animal health and welfare issues, they also produce more emissions than cars and trucks. Not to mention creating perfect conditions for diseases like bird flu and swine flu and who knows what else. — Stephen]

Cramming 100,000 chickens into a single facility to produce low-cost meat also creates the perfect atmosphere for the spread of disease

By Stephen Leahy

Feb 20 (IPS) 2007

Factory farms are responsible for both the bird flu and emissions of greenhouse gases top those of cars and sport utility vehicles (SUVs), according to a report released Monday.

Sixty percent of global livestock production, including chicken and pig “confined animal feedlot operations” (CAFOs), now occur in the developing world. Unregulated zoning and subsidies that encourage these CAFOs or factory farms are moving closer to major urban areas in China, Bangladesh, India, and many countries in Africa, said the report, “Vital Signs 2007-2008” by the Worldwatch Institute.

Although there is no definitive scientific proof, those farms are very likely where avian or bird flu started and will continue to be responsible for new outbreaks, said the author of the report, Danielle Nierenberg, a Worldwatch research associate. Continue reading

Carbon Emissions Can Be Reduced 80% by 2020 – Lester Brown has a plan and he’s not crazy

LesterBrown smlStephen Leahy interviews LESTER BROWN, founder of the Earth Policy Institute

UXBRIDGE, Canada, Oct 7 2009 (IPS)

Lester Brown says his views sometimes appear extreme – because the mainstream media largely doesn’t understand the urgency and challenges in avoiding catastrophic climate change.

The founder and president of the Washington-based Earth Policy Institute, he is also considered by many to be one of the world’s most influential thinkers.

“It looks like I’m a radical because the mainstream media aren’t reflecting the reality of our situation,” Brown says.

A farmer from the eastern U.S. state of New Jersey, Brown entered the U.S. Civil Service in the 1960s, becoming an expert on foreign agricultural policy before leaving to found the Worldwatch Institute in 1974.

The winner of many awards and honourary degrees, Brown is the author of 50 books. In 2001, he founded the Earth Policy Institute to provide a roadmap for achieving an environmentally sustainable economy.

His most recent book is “Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization”, the fourth and perhaps most urgent version of the Plan B series, available for download at the institutes’s website. In Plan 4.0, Brown calls for carbon emissions cuts of 80 percent by 2020.

“We cannot afford to let the planet get much hotter,” he explains simply. Continue reading