US report targets environmental cost of factory farming

The factory farming of animals takes a large toll on human health and the environment, a major report by US researchers has found. It calls for major changes in the way corporate agriculture produces meat, milk and eggs.

The report, "Putting Meat on the Table: Industrial Farm Production in America", sponsored by the Pew Charitable Trusts and Johns Hopkins

Bloomberg School of Public Health, finds that the "economies of scale"used to justify factory farming practices are largely an illusion, perpetuated by a failure to account for associated costs, the Washington Post said on Wednesday.

Among those costs are human illnesses caused by drug-resistant bacteria associated with the widespread use of antibiotics and the degradation of land, water and air quality caused by intense concentrations of animal waste.

The report urges stronger reporting requirements for companies and an eventual ban on antibiotics in farm animals except as treatments for disease. It also calls for tighter regulation of factory farm waste, after finding that toxic gases and dust from animal waste make workers
and local residents ill.

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