CAFOs Whitepaper

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CAFO’s Uncovered:
The Untold Costs of Animal Feeding Operations

The livestock industry is vital to our national economy, supplying meat, milk, eggs, and other animal products and providing meaningful employment in rural communities. Until recently, food animal production was integrated with crop production in a balanced way that was generally beneficial to farmers and society as a whole.

But livestock production has undergone a transformation in which a small number of very large CAFOs (confined animal feeding operations) predominate. These CAFOs have imposed significant – but largely unaccounted for – costs on taxpayers and communities throughout the United States.

CAFOs are characterized by large numbers of animals crowded into a confined space – an unnatural andunhealthy condition that concentrates too much manure in too small an area. Many of the costly problems caused by CAFOs can be attributed to the storage and disposal of this manure and the overuse of antibiotics in livestock to stave off disease.

This report was made possible through the financial support of The Cedar Tree Foundation, The Deer Creek Foundation, The Educational Foundation of America, The David B. Gold Foundation, Newman’s Own Foundation, and UCS members.