Intensive Farming Cruel For Animals And Hard On The Planet, Too says Pressure Group

CANADA - Peter Fricker, Vancouver Humane Society writes: The Fraser Valley, once a bucolic landscape of small family farms, has become a casualty of one of the great global issues of the 21st century: The dirty, dangerous and inhumane business of intensive agriculture -- a business driven by our insatiable demand for cheap meat.
calendar icon 25 September 2007
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Earlier this year, the B.C. Agriculture Council quietly released a study that found "high to very high environmental risk" levels of nitrates in the soil of a number of the Valley's farms. Previous studies have identified agriculture as the main source of nitrates leaching into the Abbotsford aquifer, which supplies drinking water to 100,000 people.

Specifically, it's the enormous amount of nitrate-rich livestock manure that's the problem. Farmers spray masses of it on crops as fertilizer, causing excess nutrients such as nitrates, phosphates and potassium to seep into the soil and groundwater.

High levels of nitrates in drinking water are associated with blue baby syndrome, a condition that reduces babies' ability to carry sufficient oxygen in the blood. Nitrates also cause excessive algae growth in waterways, suffocating aquatic life.

Source: TheVancouverSun

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