Making CAFOs a Thing of the Past

January 16, 2020

A new bill seeks to change the way animals are raised in the US. It needs our support. Action Alert!

The Farm System Reform Act addresses a number of concerns we at ANH-USA have been writing about for years. The meat industry in the United States is dominated by a few large companies that demand animals be confined in close quarters and raised in squalid conditions. This bill would halt the dominance of CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operation) over the meat industry in the US. It would also return transparency to meat labeling.

Specifically, the bill would place a moratorium on the expansion and creation of new large CAFOs. By 2040, no large CAFOs would be allowed to be in operation. (Large CAFOs are defined by the EPA based on the number of animals contained in the operation.)

The bill also holds corporate entities responsible for the massive amounts of pollution and waste generated by CAFOs. As it currently stands, large transnational companies contract with local growers who run the CAFO according to the company’s specifications, but it is the local growers who are legally responsible for the pollution generated by the operation. The new bill would transfer this responsibility to the parent company.

The bill allots $100 million over ten years for a voluntary buyout program for farmers who want to leave the CAFO business. This fund would also offer transition assistance to farmers who want to start a pasture-based livestock operation, grow specialty crops, or start an organic operation.

Finally, the bill restores mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) for beef and pork and expands it to include dairy products. It also prevents foreign meat from carrying the “Product of USA” label. These are two issues we’ve raised the alarm on in the past (here and here). Previously, Congress caved and repealed COOL when the World Trade Organization (WTO) ruled that the law unfairly discriminated against meat from Canada and Mexico. The “logic” was that COOL infringed upon international trade obligations, entitling those countries to take retaliatory measures against US exports that amounted to billions of dollars.

We’ve also written about the loophole at the USDA that allows foreign meat to be labeled as American. Current USDA policy allows foreign meat to be imported to the US and carry the “Product of USA” label if it passes through a USDA-inspected plant. The USDA loophole allows foreign multinational corporations to disguise their products and take advantage of the lucrative US market. There’s good reason to believe that this loophole also violates the federal government’s own policies that prohibit false or misleading labeling.

The provisions in this bill mark some positive first steps to reforming our broken agricultural system. CAFOs have come to dominate meat production in the US, but consumers are becoming increasingly wary of these operations, especially as reports come out about the abuse of animals that happens at CAFOs—and which some states work to suppress through “ag-gag” laws. We must start to turn the tide by supporting initiatives such as this.

Action Alert! Write to Congress and tell them to support the Farm System Reform Act. Please send your message immediately.

67 responses to “Making CAFOs a Thing of the Past”

  1. sm says:

    Has long bothered me that animals raised for slaughter, esp. as the factories charged with this task become bigger and bigger, are all more or less treated like, well, cattle, to the detriment not only of the animal but their consumers as well. Studies have shown that distressed animals secrete substances that are negative to health, and this is not always something that either can be or will be measured in their processing. Although neither vegan nor vegetarian, wish more often than not that I could be. That said, I welcome meat alternatives, and better ways of raising even the plants that we all consume, not only for the health of the humans consuming them, but the environment in general.

    • Wendy says:

      No “treating them like cattle” doesn’t properly describe it. They’re treating them like inanimate objects–they’re just numbers in a spreadsheet.

      And don’t be so sure the “vegetarian” option is healthier for you or the planet. It takes way more land to grow enough “umani” for an “impossible burger” than it does to let a cow have several years of happy living before you make hamburger out of her.

  2. Reginald Spengler says:

    I am writing to you to support the Farm System Reform Act.

  3. Cindy says:

    Help the animals. We are there voice

  4. Christopher Tumolo says:

    Please support the Farm System Reform Act.

  5. Martin Kosovich says:

    Shame what is being done on CAFO’s.
    Foreign meet is foreign.

  6. Candice Gulyas says:

    IT’S TIME TO HAVE COMPASSION FOR ALL ANIMALS. PROBLEM IS, THE PEOPLE WHO ABUSE THESE ANIMALS DON’T CARE..

  7. Joan Sitomer says:

    Support the Farm System Reform Act. We must end concentrated animal feeding operations and bring transparency back to meat labeling.

  8. Joy Beckner says:

    YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT! Treat all animals with respect so they may become the most delicious, nutritious food your body deserves.

    DO YOU DESERVE CRAP FOOD? If so, support CAFOS!!!

    WANT TO DIE SOONER? SUPPORT CAFOS!

    Wake UP! TREAT FOOD ANIMALS WITH THE RESPECT YOU EXPECT FOR YOUR BODY. REMEMBER THE GOLDEN RULE!!!

    • K. says:

      Time to get back to the basics of life. Mass production is for selfish ppl who want financial gain. Animals are created for us to care for and not mistreat.

  9. These facilities are cruel and inhumane. Do not let them happen.

  10. ruth amernick says:

    The provisions in this bill mark some positive first steps to reforming our broken agricultural system.
    Corporate entities are responsible for the massive amounts of pollution and waste generated by CAFOs.
    These large companies need to take responsibility for these problems and change their policies/practices for contracting out to farms that are not following humane or sanitary conditions for animals.
    this si a public health issue.
    Please support the Farm System Reform Act.
    Amend the loophole which violates the federal government’s own policies that prohibit false or misleading labeling and continues inhumane and unsanitary practices.
    Thank you.
    .

  11. Astrid Thomsen says:

    This is HITLER treatment of horrifically abused animals, our environment and consumers by keeping vital information from the consumer all in the name of GREED, GREED AND MORE GREED BY PERPETRATOR COMPANIES.

  12. Charlotte Matthews says:

    Animals should be treated with kindness and care even if they are being raised for food

    It is time to get rid of CAFOs. If the person taking care of animals MUST wear a hazmat suit and mask something is terribly wrong

  13. Janet Murray says:

    codes i enter are never approved.. so how can I send email from your site?

  14. Julia says:

    Integrity over profit
    Compassion over profit
    Respect over profit

  15. Joseph Nardone says:

    Tried to take action but your website is screwed-up. Everytime I tried to send a message, the addresses kept disappearing. After a few tries, stopped. Very good and enlightening info. Do support what you say.

  16. Loretta Franklin says:

    Please, support the Farm System Reform Act! Animals raised in the manner where they are crowded and mistreated is not only bad for the animals, but for the environment in causing more pollution than is necessary. Also, I most definitely want to know where my animal products are coming from.

    Thank you, Loretta Franklin

  17. Cheryl says:

    How can these companies exist? Cruelty to animals is so disgusting! Shane in these greedy a holes!

  18. MILAN PAKES says:

    THERE IS NO REASON ANIMALS SHOULD BE LIVING IN CROWDED CONDITIONS, EXCEP TO CUT COST TO CORPORATIONS WHO HAVE THE MONEY TO SPREAD OUT THEIR ANIMALS.
    GREED IS THE REAL PROBLEM.

    GREED AND SELFISHNESS & NO HEART.

    THEY SPEND MORE MONEY ON ANTIBIOTICS THAN THEY WOULD ON PROPERTY TO SPREAD OUT AND GOOD FEEDING HABITS.

    THEY ( LARGE COMPANIES) HANE NO EXCUSE.

    M.P.P.

  19. Cheryl Potts says:

    Please support the Farm System Reform Act to stop animal cruelty!

  20. STEVEN J NICOLETTA says:

    We must treat all animals humanely. All animals

  21. connie davis says:

    CAFO’s have no place on this planet. Humane treatment of animals is required, as it is of us, as well. We have shut down cattle CAFO’s here in Missouri. More has to be done.

  22. Allen Fitz-Gerald says:

    I totally support the Farm System Reform Act.

  23. Stop being cruel to chickens!

  24. Sheila Brady says:

    The Farm System Reform Act has my support. It is long overdue!

  25. Francesca Testa says:

    US government needs to subsidize small organic regenerative farmers, not factory farms that harm health and are significant contributors to climate change.

  26. Rina Sunar says:

    Please support the Farm System Reform Act. Thank you

  27. Melissae Bletsian says:

    Consuming cruelty makes us all ill. The way of the old fashioned, small farms run by people who are in tune with the land and the animals, is what creates healthy foods for people. We must return to our roots.
    Factory farms HAVE to go!

  28. Yaping tao says:

    It is Way past due to have a change for the safety sake of the universe and the humanity. It makes much sense for those to clean up behind themselves after the contributIon to the global warming. It is time to have a better way to raise animals for consumption.

  29. Mr. Marcel Liberge says:

    CONgress is too chicken-SH*T to upset the powers that be, big-AG!

  30. Patricia Sweet says:

    I prefer free range chickens or other animals that I may eat because I think the quality of life effects the quality of the product. I don’t like animals being abused or neglected.

  31. kay buhler says:

    Make CAFOs a thing of the past!

  32. Glenda Ross says:

    we have the right to know where our food comes from, the USDA has no right for false labeling! These animals need to be raised humanly common sense tells you that makes them healthier to consume. Stop your cover ups and lies!

  33. nancy dotlo says:

    all animals deserve humane treatment.

  34. robert claesson says:

    CAFO’s are unhealthy for the animals and lead to unhealthy food for Americans. It is insane that corporations raise our food in factories. We need healthy farms, ranches and open ranges with animals that live semi-naturally in their ecosystems and eat natural sources of food and move freely as they have done for the entire existence of the species.

  35. There are so many things wrong with animals raised this way. It hurts the animals and also the humans. Let’s have a more compassionate system and strive for an society where we no longer eat animals.

  36. Kay Fincher says:

    We NEED smaller companies who can keep a closer eye on the health and welfare of animals raised for food. We need so much reform in our
    horrid agriculture system.

    I have quit eating animal products due to these conditions.

  37. Janice Murphey says:

    We must get rid of CAFO’s for the health of this country. Using antibiotics and treating the animals inhumanely is just disgusting. It is causing diseases to multiply in the country and is morally wrong.

  38. Sheila Cowden says:

    Please support the Farm System Reform Act to halt the expansion and creation of new large CAFOs, return transparency to meat labeling, hold CORPORATE ENTITIES responsible for the massive amounts of pollution and waste generated by CAFOs, and restore mandatory country of origin labeling (COOL) for beef, pork, and dairy products.

    Animals deserve to live in a more stress,abuse, and pain-free environment and we citizens deserve to know what we’re consuming. The bill allotment of $100 million over ten years for a voluntary buyout program for farmers who want to leave the CAFO business is fair for transition assistance to farmers who want to start a pasture-based livestock operation, grow specialty crops, or start an organic operation.

  39. Jessica Rollins says:

    Support the Farm System Reform Act.

  40. Susan Rock says:

    Please support the Farm System Reform Act.

  41. Maui Paul says:

    send my message immediately for a bill to take effect in 20 years??????????

  42. Jana Pellusch says:

    I ask for your support and vote for the Farm System Reform Act. If we as a society continue to eat meat, we MUST be willing to rid the farm industry of cruel practices and unhealthful conditions.

  43. Pat Martin says:

    After you stop the animal rights activists from illegal trespassing and stealing animals, then talk to me.

  44. Tiffany Baker says:

    Support the Farm System Reform Act! CAFO are not only inhumane, they are an environmental problem.

  45. Kin says:

    I totally support the Farm System Reform act and hope you will too!!

  46. Linda L Caradori says:

    People are becoming vegetarians because of things like this. The meat industry and meat consumers are killing the planet and these operations are making the effects of the meat industry even worse. Please stop the torture of animals and the terrible pollution that goes with it!
    Thank you,

  47. Carol Edgerton says:

    CAFOs are killing people while being responsible for the inhumane treatment of life.

  48. valerie w says:

    Support Farm System Reform Act PLEASE!!!

  49. K. Robinson says:

    It is a proven fact CAFO’s are one of the biggest polluters in this country.

    They also extend to the decline in health and wellness which drives up health care costs for all. Yes, you’re right. It makes the pharmaceutical company richer at the expense of this country’s citizens. Am I the only way that can see this is totally unfair and scandalous from a body of government which is supposed to be working for us… not them.

    Ultimately, the Farm System Reform Act will only become an asset which can generate more clean business. See we aren’t putting them out of business entirely, we are just asking for them to clean their business up.

    Please lend your support to this bill and talk up its advantages to your other Congressional members so we can start the long road to cleaning up this country for ourselves and future generations.

  50. Pamela Alvanos says:

    We’re a third world country when it comes to food production

  51. Jude Crump says:

    We seem to have to fight greed everywhere. Competition puts pressure on businesses that used to be healthy but now serves only to supercede common decency. It needs some minor tweaks to the model to bring us back to being able caretakers of the earth. This is one of the things we can do.

  52. Michael Bondoc says:

    Please support the Farm System Reform Act.

  53. Linda Brunner says:

    We buy organic or small farmer grown. No more CAFO food ruining our health and communities.

    Support the Farm System Reform Act.

  54. Lydia Kitfield says:

    CAFO s are an inhumane way to raise animals- and, as a Farmer, I think them a bad Idea!

  55. Mark Peterson says:

    CAFOs are not only an environmental disaster, but are cruel to animals. Farm animals should live a good life before they are killed, slaughtered and butchered. If animals are allowed to live naturally outdoors, naturally and with room to roam, they will be healthier and provide healthy meat and eggs. Animal excrement will amend the soil, which will also become healthier, more productive and sequester atmospheric carbon, which will reduce global climate change. Healthy animals will require less antibiotics to stay healthy and an antibiotic-resistant bacteria will decrease. So, there are many economic, health, and environmental reasons to eliminate CAFOs.

  56. Andy Flores says:

    We must stop sickening our selves with diseased meat products.

  57. Jan Bassett says:

    With a large majority of the World’s populas being Blood type A – you are Not to eat much meat, mainly fish, some chicken some turkey. So this bill is also aligned wirh what is simply supposed to be. Everything else is just extra benefit.

  58. ann violi says:

    CAFOS are a lose/lose situation. They may make a few bucks for a few people, but the cost to the health of many and the damage to the planet is huge.
    Farming has to involve new, intelligent systems for the good of all which does not include companies like Monsanto.

  59. Greg Steuck says:

    There is nothing healthy about products from CAFOs. Please support the Farm System Reform Act.

  60. Cynthia A. Wright says:

    I strongly support The Farm System Reform Act!

  61. Antal Kalik says:

    Get rid of CAFO’S now

  62. ann violi says:

    We, mostly, on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, in Accomack County, are well aware of the tremendous downsides of CAFOS and while we appreciate this initiative, fear it will be too little, too late for us given our sole source aquifer now accessed by billions of birds annually, but, also, the air given no ammonia scrubbers, the soil which cannot support so much manure and the waters which will be polluted. What is the point of throwing millions of dollars at the Bay when the source of pollution is allowed? See what Tyson, mainly, has done to the Gulf. The BP spill pales.

  63. James Clapp says:

    Please support the Farm System Reform Act

  64. Linda says:

    We have several farms, indoor, no sun 24/7 feeding under lights, just makes me sick enough to stop consuming milk, and milk products , ice cream , cheese, cheap yogurts, ..going by these farms each and every day, turned me off, i no longer buy meat, either! MT. UPTON, N.Y.

  65. AJ says:

    Watching Forks Over Knives, reading PCRM.org are very empowering.

    The primary reason why people still eat animals’ body parts and secretions is not knowing where animal foods come from, not questioning things, looking away, lest one might be convinced with the facts against this deadly habit (for humans, animals and nature).
    But for every animal product one “gives up,” 3-10 others become available just from looking…
    Very few people who actually get to witness the animals’ plight and the benefits of a whole-foods plant based diet for the human body and spirit continue supporting the deadly industry. And that is the good news!

    Also, if most animal products were not subsidized with tax payers’ money, their prices would be astronomical — truly reflecting the (ab)use of natural resources (grains fed to the animals, use of pesticides and GMOs, water use, pollution of land and water, burning down the Amazon rainforests to grow more animal feed, etc.). Animal based eating is simply unsustainable.
    The single most powerful act of nonviolence and kindness for the animals, the Earth, and ourselves we can do is just choose plant-based foods — one day at at time. Feel the freedom and power that comes with it.

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