Posts Tagged ‘ factory Farm Class Actions

Factory Farming Operations: The Smell of Mass Litigation at its Finest

Factory Farming Operations are a  real and substantial threat to the environment, human health, and the economic integrity of  communities plagued by the presence of such operations. Factory Farming Operations confine as many animals as economically possible into a fixed amount of available space essentially operating as a factory by treating animals as units of production. It is not uncommon to have  thousands or hundreds of thousands  of animals tightly cramped into cages in order to maximize production for the corporate producers. The implications of such industrialized farming practices will be discussed to shed light on the various classes of stakeholders who are impacted by these operations.

The environmental impacts of Factory Farms are no secret. Hundreds of thousands of animals cramped in limited spaces translates into thousands of pounds of waste collected in cesspools every day. This gives  off offensive odours to members of the surrounding community. It is also not uncommon for the waste to find its way into the soil leading to nutrient overloading  causing runoff and contamination of  surrounding waterways and local drinking wells.

For frontline employees of these operations, exposure to high levels of dust, ammonia,  and hydrogen sulfide can result in serious health effects. It has been reported that just 2 hours of exposure in these conditions can lead to bronchitis, and asthma.

Consumers of meat produced from these facilities are at risk of consuming meat infected with bacteria such as E-coli, Salmonella, and Listeria to name but a few. In addition, as a result of  the high level of antibiotics pumped into the animals to keep them from developing illnesses in these less than ideal conditions, antibiotic  resistant strains of bacteria may become more prominent creating more risk to the public. Further risks associated with these types of Factory Farm conditions include the incubation and spread of flu epidemics such as Swine Flu, Avian Flu, and even diseases such as Mad Cow Disease (BSE).

For those residents who are plagued with a Factory Farm in their backyards, health effects have been reported to include asthma, immune suppression, neurological symptoms, psychological impairment, gastrointestinal problems and increased infant mortality rates. In addition, the establishment of such Farming operations greatly decrease the value of local properties, and outcompete smaller family run farming operations through its monopolistic nature.

The lower costs of food that Factory Farming practices may generate  fails to consider the great costs of production associated with environmental degradation of our air, water, soil, health and economic integrity posed by such practices. It is time for the power of class action litigation to do what it does best in  circumstances such as this where the regulatory regime falls short: behaviour modification.

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