Factory farms tend to move in and out of the public consciousness. People become briefly alarmed at news of antibiotic-resistant bacteria or epidemics. But they continue to purchase inexpensive meat at the grocery store as headlines change to other topics. CAFOs, the official term for industrial-scale meat-growing facilities, have serious implications for animal rights, environmental pollution, and even environmental justice. Although CAFOs produce nearly all meat eaten in America, consumers can find better options.
What is a CAFO?
CAFO stands for concentrated animal feeding operation (or sometimes confined animal feeding operation). In a telling detail, the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, rather than the FDA, legally defines CAFOs.
It defines CAFO as any animal feeding operation where:
- Animals are kept and fed for 45 days or more in a 12-month period, and
- Crops or…