Re­duce de­mand for an­i­mal prod­ucts

The Star Democrat - - OPINION -

Be­yond the widely re­ported dev­as­tat­ing im­pacts of Hur­ri­cane Florence on the Caroli­nas in Septem­ber, there is one more — of the self-in­flicted va­ri­ety.

North Carolina is home to thou­sands of fac­tory farms that raise mil­lions of pigs, chick­ens, and other an­i­mals for our din­ner ta­ble. Their fe­ces are stored in huge open pits, la­beled iron­i­cally as “la­goons.” The ex­cess rain­fall from Florence is very likely to spread much of this waste onto nearby hous­ing de­vel­op­ments, farm­land, and wa­ter­ways, in­clud­ing those sup­ply­ing drink­ing wa­ter.

This is ex­actly what hap­pened when Hur­ri­cane Floyd struck North Carolina as a Cat­e­gory 2 storm in 1999. Ac­cord­ing to the As­so­ci­ated Press, “The bloated car­casses of hun­dreds of thou­sands of an­i­mals bobbed in a nose-sting­ing soup of fe­cal mat­ter, pes­ti­cides, fer­til­izer and gaso­line so toxic that fish flopped help­lessly on the sur­face to es­cape it.”

Although none of us has di­rect con­trol over the weather, we each have di­rect con­trol over our de­mand for an­i­mal food prod­ucts: the very food prod­ucts that cause so much dam­age to our en­vi­ron­ment and to our per­sonal health. The ad­vent of Florence presents a great op­por­tu­nity for each of us to start re­duc­ing that de­mand. DALEB STOKER

Cam­bridge

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