Sweetest Kill
May 20, 2014 12:42 PM   Subscribe

I'm under the impression that factory farming is insane and detrimental to our continuing existence as a species. However, it's difficult to find resources that further explore the environmental impact without the Peter Singer-type ethical concerns of animal welfare, which is appreciated but sometimes lacks a certain scientific rigor. Are there good, go-to resources that explore the environmental impact of factory farming that refrain from diversions into animal rights?
posted by four panels to Science & Nature (9 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I think you might want to add words like "pollution" or "runoff" to your searches.

NPR had a book review a bit ago on a factory farm book - from the review - "The growth of factory farming in America obviously brings up issues of animal welfare, labor and nutrition, but Kirby's focus in Animal Factory is purely how the farms are changing, perhaps irrevocably, the environments and the long-term health of the people who live near them."
posted by umwhat at 12:48 PM on May 20, 2014

If you haven't already seen it, check out the doc Food, Inc. It's on netflix. While it does speak about the harm done to animals, it also makes arguments based on sustainability
posted by winterportage at 12:50 PM on May 20, 2014

I have not read this yet since it just came out today, but Dan Barber's book The Third Plate might be in the vein that you want. He is exploring how farming needs to evolve and change in order to be sustainable. It talks about more than just animal farming, though.
posted by bedhead at 1:04 PM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

You may also want to looks at academic work around antibiotic resistance and use of antibiotics in factory farming. It's not environmental in the traditional sense, but it is definitely detrimental.
posted by quince at 1:12 PM on May 20, 2014

Check out the Community Water Center's resource page. They are trying to bring attention to the side effects of drinking water contaminated with factory farm runoff in Central California.
posted by any major dude at 1:19 PM on May 20, 2014

Food Matters by Mark Bittman discusses this. I read it a long time ago, so I don't remember in great detail, but it was definitely not in the same vein as Eating Animals, which I couldn't even finish.
posted by melissasaurus at 1:19 PM on May 20, 2014

Here is a decent looking reading list for you: https://www.academia.edu/966563/SIS_396-006_The_Political_Ecology_of_Food_and_Agriculture-course_syllabus

In general I would suggest you look for some geographers if you want scientific rigor about food issues. Try some google scholar searches with terms like 'geography' or 'political ecology' and 'food' or 'factory farming' or 'industrial agriculture' - you will find lots of stuff!

Julie Guthman comes to mind as a geographer who writes about food stuff, but maybe not exactly about environmental impacts of factory farming. You might poke around and see if you can find a syllabus from one of her courses for more suggestions though.
posted by silvergoat at 10:06 AM on May 21, 2014

Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma covers this topic as well as some high-efficiency alternatives to factory farming. It's also one of the 5 best non-fiction books I've read.
posted by EKStickland at 7:06 PM on May 21, 2014

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