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“The present system of producing food
animals in the United States is not sustainable
and presents an unprecedented level of risk to public health and damage to the environment,
as well as unnecessary harm to the animals
we raise as food.”

—Robert Martin, Director of the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production

In the United States and other parts of the world, livestock production is becoming increasingly dominated by concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). In a CAFO, animals are crammed by the thousands or tens of thousands, often unable to breathe fresh air, see the light of day, walk outside, peck at a plants or insects, scratch the earth, or eat a blade of grass.

Over 50 billion food animals are raised and slaughtered every year (not including massive quantities of farmed fish). Grazing and growing feed for livestock now occupy 70 percent of all agricultural land and 30 percent of the ice-free terrestrial surface of the planet. If present trends continue, meat production is predicted to double between the turn of the 21st century and 2050. Yet already, the Earth is being overwhelmed by food animals that consume massive quantities of energy and resources, whose wastes foul waterways and farmlands, and when eaten excessively, degrade our health.

CAFO: The Tragedy of Industrial Animal Factories is a powerful indictment of modern food production. But as the book shows, it doesn't have to be this way. Ultimately, CAFO offers a compelling vision for a healthier food system: one that is humane, sound for farmers and communities, and safer for consumers and the environment.

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