Factory farms are infamous for polluting surrounding water resources and placing local communities at avoidable health risks, particularly via excess animal waste. But recent news that a Dallas meatpacking plant may have dumped pig blood and other chemicals into a creek that leads to a nearby river brings CAFO contamination to a whole new level of disgust.
An investigation began two months ago, only after a photographer taking aerial photos of the river (adjacent to the plant) noticed that it had turned a dark red color. That's a lot of blood! To make things even more troubling, the polluted water is right next to where a white-water recreation site is scheduled to be. Talk about threats to public health.
According to CBS Local, the plant had previously been cited for inhumane animal treatment in 2008 and 2009. Watch the video news report below:
I don't think Dallas residents, or anyone who eats pork for that matter, would be happy to find out their meal stems from a plant that dumps pig blood into community water sources.
Sadly, contamination is nothing new when it comes to industrial agriculture. According to a 2006 United Nations report, the animal agriculture sector is among the top three contributors to our most serious environmental problems.
It's instances like these that make regulation cutbacks and turning oversight roles over to industry seem ridiculous, especially when whistleblower protections in the meat industry (for both private sector workers and government officials) remain lacking. Accountability is needed more than ever.
Sarah Damian is New Media Associate for the Government Accountability Project, the nation's leading whistleblower protection and advocacy organization.