Beyond the Factory Farm: How Slaughterhouses Are Polluting the Planet

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Nobody desires to speak about slaughterhouses. It’s not precisely a nice dinner-time dialog, particularly if somebody on the desk has a steak in entrance of them. Even folks used to discussing the disgusting circumstances the place animals are raised on manufacturing unit farms, are reluctant to delve into in-depth discussions of the circumstances in slaughterhouses, however they’re a vital element of the manufacturing unit farm system. After all, nine billion animals are slaughtered every year

As manufacturing unit farms have consolidated into fewer corporations, these corporations have obtained extra energy throughout the business; this leads to slaughterhouses that should meet the calls for of those corporations. Moving at a quick tempo usually results in dangerous conditions similar to meals contamination from fecal matter, mad cow illness, and employee harm as a result of excessive speeds demanded; staff will be anticipated to kill as much as 400 cows an hour. In addition, slaughterhouses are cleaned utilizing sturdy chemical compounds and water, contributing to the air pollution drawback, and wastewater contamination. The issues of slaughterhouses clearly transcend killing harmless animals.


One of the most important environmental considerations related to slaughterhouses is wastewater and water contamination. The United States alone has 32 slaughterhouses answerable for dumping 55 million pounds of pollution into the waterways … yearly. The wastewater from slaughterhouses, as you possibly can think about, comprises all types of disgusting supplies, often called suspended solids, together with fats, grease, and manure. (Definitely not belongings you need in your subsequent glass of water.)

The lack of regulation associated to slaughterhouse waste permits this drawback to proceed. According to the Environmental Working Group there are eight slaughterhouses which might be ranked among the many prime 20 polluters of floor water within the U.S. – a rating that features polluters from different industries as nicely. Collectively, these eight slaughterhouses dumped 30 million kilos of contaminants including nitrogen, phosphorus, and ammonia into waterways in only one 12 months!  That doesn’t sound like a really accountable enterprise follow and positively is just not the work of an business that cares in regards to the atmosphere.

All this wastewater is an issue for a lot of causes. One of the largest is its contribution to nitrate pollution. Nitrates are a major source of water contamination in agricultural communities and excessive nitrate ranges in water may cause methemoglobinemia or blue baby syndrome, a deadly situation that impacts infants underneath six months.

Nitrogen air pollution in waterways may kill aquatic life, and make it rather more tough for fish, bugs, and different creatures depending on the water to outlive.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

As horrible because the wastewater issues from slaughterhouses could also be, their greenhouse fuel emissions are equally scary. The main source of those emissions is from the electrical energy used to run the slaughterhouses and to eliminate the beforehand talked about wastewater in addition to packing, cooling, and transporting the lifeless animals. The amounts vary relying on the animal and different components, nevertheless it’s estimated that electrical energy outputs account for five percent of beef-related emissions, 13 % of pork-related emissions, and 24 % of chicken-related emissions.

Slaughterhouses are additionally answerable for giant outputs of greenhouse gases similar to methane and carbon dioxide, each main contributors to local weather change. These gases are created each within the means of slaughter and by the degradation of wastewater. As established above, wastewater comprises a lot of natural supplies, all of which launch methane and carbon dioxide after they decompose. Given the truth that 55 million kilos of wastewater are dumped into waterways every year – the quantity of those gases is probably going exorbitant.


Just if you thought issues couldn’t get any worse, they do if you hear about how a few of these waste merchandise are disposed of by the agriculture business. In the United States, slaughterhouse waste is mostly taken care of in a few methods.

One is to spray the wastewater as irrigation over fields. If this feels like a foul thought, that’s as a result of it’s. This methodology can contaminate floor and groundwater, trigger horrible smells, contribute to greenhouse gases and negatively impression the soil. Another approach to eliminate waste is lagoons. These are generally identified attributable to their use as storage for manure and different manufacturing unit farm waste, however they’re additionally used for slaughterhouse waste. This use produces a whole lot of methane and once more horrible smells.

What Can You Do?

It is true that there seems to be cruelty and abuse in each part of the animal agriculture course of. From elevating animals in squalid circumstances to slaughtering them en masse, there isn’t any denying the cruelty that happens to the animals. But after we take a look at the larger image and study the residual environmental air pollution that outcomes simply from the slaughter course of alone, it’s clear that cattle are hardly the one dwelling beings struggling by the hands of this business.

The excellent news is that we’ve got the facility to place an finish to this air pollution that begins with our meals selections daily. The greatest strategy to struggle this technique and scale back or get rid of its waste is to keep away from meat altogether. If we decrease the demand for meat and different animal merchandise then we will decrease the quantity of air pollution that outcomes as nicely.

As the main group on the forefront of the acutely aware consumerism motion, it’s One Green Planet’s view that our meals selections have the facility to heal our damaged meals system, give species a preventing probability for survival, and pave the way in which for a really sustainable future.

By selecting to eat extra plant-based meals, you possibly can drastically lower your carbon footprint, save valuable water provides and assist make sure that very important crop sources are fed to folks, quite than livestock. With the wealth of obtainable plant-based choices out there, it has by no means been simpler to eat with the planet in thoughts.

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