Animal Agriculture and Environmental Racism
Why is Making the Connection Important?
Animal agriculture is a serious source of air, soil and water pollution. The disproportionate number of industrialized farms, slaughterhouses and processing facilities in low socio-economic areas and communities of color means that poor people- especially people of color- are exposed to significantly more pollution than the general population. This is a major factor of a social issue referred to as environmental racism.
People who live near or work at slaughterhouses and factory farms breathe in many harmful chemicals produced by decomposing manure. Hydrogen sulfide is released by manure lagoons and dangerous even at low levels; with health risks ranging from sore throats to seizures, comas and even death. These same lagoons contaminate local drinking water supplies, increasing the risk of blue baby syndrome which can be fatal to infants. There is also a higher risk of miscarriage. Areas surrounding factory farms have also been subject to several disease outbreaks due to bacterial and viral contamination of drinking water.
Factory farms are an absolute atrocity to all touched by them, from the animals trapped in horrible conditions within, to the local environment, and even spreading their devastation to affect the health and safety of people unfortunate enough to live in their vicinity.
Animal Abuse = Human Abuse
Why is making the connection important?
As animal advocates, we are often met with the claim that our advocacy for animals is somehow less important because human suffering is a priority. We won’t address the hypocrisy of this claim here. However, by clearly illustrating the connection of how animal abuse also leads to human abuse, this not only counteracts this quick dismissal of animal suffering, but it can also make our message easier for others to relate to from a human rights perspective.
This is the fourth release of our new series “Animal Abuse = Human Abuse” designed to help expand the reach of our advocacy for animals to new audiences.