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NY Times Editorial: Mapping factory farms :::: www.factoryfarmmap.org

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  • Pamela Rice
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/31/opinion/31tue4.html?ex=1186545600&en=477d674d5f3d0912&ei=5070&emc=eta1 July 31, 2007 Editorial The New York Times A Factory
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 3, 2007
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      http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/31/opinion/31tue4.html?ex=1186545600&en=477d674d5f3d0912&ei=5070&emc=eta1

      July 31, 2007
      Editorial
      The New York Times
      A Factory Farm Near You

      Once upon a time, only a decade or so, it wasn't hard to know where
      factory hog farms were because they were nearly all in North
      Carolina. But since those days, the practice of crowding together
      huge concentrations of animals - hogs, poultry, dairy cows, beef
      cattle - in the interests of supposed efficiency has spread around
      the country.

      Wherever it appears, factory farming has two notable effects. It
      threatens the environment, because of huge concentrations of animal
      manure and lax regulation. And it threatens local political control.
      Residents who want a say over whether and where factory farms, whose
      stench can be overwhelming, can be built find their voices drowned
      out by the industry's cash and lobbying clout.

      These farms are spreading so rapidly that it's been hard to get an
      accurate, up-to-date picture of where they all are. A research and
      advocacy group called Food and Water Watch has released an
      interactive map - http://www.factoryfarmmap.org - that allows users
      to track the proliferation of factory farms by state and county,
      number of farms, type of operation and even number of animals. The
      only thing that would make this map more useful - and we hope it will
      be an ongoing project - is the ability to track changes over time,
      showing how rapid and pervasive the growth of factory farming has
      been.

      It's important to read this map not as a static record of farm sites
      or a mere inventory of animals. It is really a map of overwhelming
      change and conflict. It raises two of the fundamental questions
      facing American agriculture. Do we pursue the logic of industrialism
      to its limits in a biological landscape? And how badly will doing so
      harm the landscape, the people who live in it and the democracy with
      which they govern themselves?
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