History / Workers' Rights / Environment / Human Health / Agribusiness / Hens / Another Way

Factory Egg Farming is bad for the ENVIRONMENT...

"The production of meat, dairy products, and eggs accounts for one-third of the total amount of raw materials used for all purposes in the United States" (Mason, Jim and Singer, Peter, Animal Factories (rev. ed.), New York: NY: Harmony Books, 1990, p. 117).

The large amount of solid waste produced by factory farms is harmful to local ecosystems, as is the release of ammonia gas.  Factory egg farming also pollutes local waterways.

"Animal agriculture is the greatest producer of sewage wastes in the United States" (Animal Factories, p. 120).  According to a poultry researcher, "The amount of animal wastes produced in the U.S. is staggering. In chickens, for example, the daily production of wastes is essentially equal to the amount of feed used. This means for every truckload of feed that is brought onto the farm, a similar load of waste must be removed. A one million hen complex, for example, produces 125 tons of wet manure a day" (Bell, D. "An egg industry perspective," Poultry Digest, Jan. 1990, p. 26.  Cited here).

Factory egg farming is a waste of agricultural resources, as only 23 percent of feed protein is converted to animal protein in eggs (Animal Factories, p. 110).  According to Earthsave International it takes 63 gallons of water to produce one egg
 
Example of Resource Waste:

Number of people whose food energy needs can be met by the food produced on 2.5 acres of land if the land is producing...

(Cited in The Food Revolution by John Robbins, p. 294).

cabbage 23 people
potatoes 22 people
rice 19 people
corn 17 people
wheat 15 people
chicken 2 people
milk 2 people
eggs 1 person
beef 1 person

Take the history of Buckeye Egg Farm in Ohio as an example of the environmental impact of battery farming:

1983 - A manure spill in Otter Fork Creek kills 150,000 fish as the farm undergoes expansion.

1995 - The Agrigeneral operation proposes a new expansion into Hardin County. Residents near the proposed site in La Rue voice their opposition with the EPA. In order to pacify growing pollution concerns from the EPA, the owner installs ground level exhaust fans into all the layer houses. By this time, the pollution factor is apparent. Groundwater contamination, erosion, and environmental damage is noted across Ohio and linked directly to Buckeye Egg.

1999 - Manure lagoons rupture and cause a fifteen-mile fish kill in Raccoon Creek. OEPA mandates a clean up at Buckeye Egg Farm. When there is failure to comply, Ohio files a 27-count lawsuit against Buckeye Egg Farm for violations of environmental laws and threatens to seize assets of the owner.

2001 - Licking County Common Pleas Court awards more than $19 million in damages to 21 residents living near Buckeye Egg Farm. For years the neighbors have lived with noxious odors, water pollution, billions of flies and other problems resulting from the 7.5 million birds kept between Johnstown and Hartford.

Similarly, the Oklahoma Water Resources Board did a 3-year study showing that half of Tulsa's drinking water is polluted with chicken waste, including its use as pasture fertilizer, resulting in "taste and odor problems that are either very costly to treat or, in recent years, untreatable." In December 2001, Tulsa filed a federal lawsuit against several poultry companies including Tyson Foods, Cobb-Vantress, Peterson Farms, Simmons, Cargill, and George's, and the city of Decatur, Arkansas (Lassek, P. J., "Water quality harmed, study affirms," The Tulsa World, 6 March 2002.  Cited here).