environment, researchers report.
By Marla Cone, Los Angeles Times, November 17,
Growing so large that they are now called factory farms, livestock feedlots are poorly regulated, pose health and ecological dangers and are responsible for deteriorating quality of life in America's and Europe's farm regions, according to a series of scientific studies published this week.
Feedlots are contaminating water supplies with pathogens and chemicals, and polluting the air with foul-smelling compounds that can cause respiratory problems, but the health of their neighbors goes largely unmonitored, the reports concluded.
The international teams of environmental scientists also warned that the livestock operations were contributing to the rise of antibiotic-resistant germs, and that the proximity of poultry to hogs could hasten the spread of avian flu to humans.
Feedlots are operations in which hundreds — often thousands — of cattle, hogs or poultry are confined, often in very close quarters. About 15,500 medium to large livestock feedlots operate in the United States in what is an approximately $80-billion-a-year industry.