stand up for healthy Farms

PROBLEM: Big Ag’s factory farms are polluting our environment and making us sick.

Think of modern farms as the bucolic images you see on TV? Think again.

In fact, many more closely resemble large, industrial factories than the family farm image that comes to mind. These factory farms are polluting our environment and are receiving government subsidies – our taxpayer dollars – to do so, while small healthy farms are left in the dust.

Here is what you need to know:

  • Big farms are getting a big payout from the government.

Not all of the 2.1 million farms in the U.S. are treated equally. Most farmers receive no taxpayer assistance while the few largest agribusinesses receive hundreds of thousands of dollars per year.

  • Agriculture is a leading source of water pollution.

Whether it’s a big grain or cotton operation, or an animal factory farm, these large scale agribusinesses are responsible for polluting our environment with enormous amounts of pesticides, fertilizer and manure.

Farm pollution is responsible for impairing drinking water sources that serve millions of Americans – this includes over 141,000 miles of rivers and streams, as well as over a million acres of lakes, reservoirs and ponds.

Unfortunately, farms are largely exempt from federal laws intended to clean up water pollution.

  • Factory farms are causing the rise in antibiotic-resistant superbugs.

Seventy to 80 percent of all antibiotics consumed in the U.S. go to healthy livestock on large factory farms – most often to promote growth or prevent infections. This unnecessary use of antibiotics in animals fuels the rise of antibiotic-resistant superbugs.

Weak Food and Drug Administration guidelines on antibiotics only encourage farms to take voluntary measures to curb their use, despite the fact that antibiotic-resistant superbugs are an epidemic in our country, infecting at least 2 million people and causing at least 23,000 deaths per year.

SOLUTION: Stop subsidizing polluters and close public health loopholes.

Big agribusiness operations receive the overwhelming majority of taxpayer subsidies each year – that should stop. Big agribusiness operations are also exempt or excluded from strong clean water, clean air and public health safeguards. We want to combat the pollution from these mega farms in the following ways:

  • Factory farms that pollute our environment and harm our health should not receive any taxpayer dollars. Period.

  • Feeding antibiotics to animals that are not sick – just so that we can fit more of them into a confined space – should be banned.

  • We should reward farms that take steps to protect public health and the health of our streams, rivers and drinking water.