Use your voice by signing the open letter to the EPA.
If we change the way we think about food, we can change everything. That’s why we’re calling on the EPA to enforce stricter emission standards at harmful factory farms.
Do your part for Earth Day, and sign the open letter to those who have the power and responsibility to make positive change to our food system. Together, we can protect the planet, ourselves, and animals. Read the letter below.
Join us in asking the EPA to set stricter emission standards and apply them to industrial animal agriculture.
Emissions from factory farms harm neighboring communities. The pollutants can damage lungs and irritate eyes and skin.
Factory farms are often located in lower-income communities of color.
Greenhouse gas emissions from raising farmed animals make up 14.5 percent of global human-induced emissions.
For the attention of U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Inspector General Sean O’Donnell
Dear Inspector O’Donnell,
Every Earth Day, we recommit ourselves to making better choices for the planet. While the first annual Earth Day took place more than half a century ago, greenhouse gas emissions and pollution continue to rise. As the IPCC recently reported, industrial animal agriculture is in huge part to blame. We, along with Mercy For Animals and coalition partners, urge the EPA to keep this planetary wrecking ball from stealing our future.
A shift to animal-free foods holds transformative potential; it could not only curb climate change but combat air and water pollution. In turn, it would lessen the effects of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) on vulnerable communities, who are disproportionately impacted. More hope-inspiring, the popularity of plant-based foods is rising. In local supermarkets and restaurants, requests for animal-free fare are ever more frequent—and the palette of widely available ingredients makes delicious, even gourmet, plant-based meals not just possible but a pleasure.
Instead of evolving with the times, however, the EPA is holding onto an outdated agreement with factory farmers. According to the deal, CAFOs would not have to comply with air-pollution standards if they helped fund an emissions-test program. This was to end in 2010, but to this day, thousands of CAFOs remain free of EPA enforcement.
Beef production accounts for about half of U.S. agricultural emissions, which is more troubling given our status as the world’s third-largest contributor of agricultural emissions. Our management of manure alone produces more methane than coal mining. Clearing forests for pasture and feed crops releases the carbon dioxide stored in trees, and this destruction of ecosystems also diminishes the soil’s ability to store carbon. Industrial animal agriculture has us on a course to climate catastrophe.
It also stinks. Every year, U.S. factory farms produce enough manure to cover Rhode Island in more than 12 inches of it. Nearby residents endure inescapable odor, as well as air, soil, and water pollution, including manure particulates that can penetrate their lungs. Surrounding communities suffer higher incidence of respiratory problems, headaches, nausea, and eye irritation. CAFOs are largely located near communities of color and impoverished communities, and exempting them from EPA enforcement makes this an even graver environmental injustice.
While we appreciate the EPA’s progress on this front, such as its study of CAFO water pollution to inform clean-water laws, industrial animal agriculture has a grip on our planet’s heat dial and won’t stop turning on its own. More and more-urgent action is needed.
Our vision is a food system that nourishes not only people but the planet and our hope for the future.
Inspector O’Donnell, please help stem the damages that CAFOs cause to climate and the environment. We urge the EPA to set stricter emission-reduction standards for federal food purchases and hold all CAFOs to their terms.
Mercy For Animals is a leading global nonprofit working to construct a just and sustainable food system.
Joanne Lee Molinaro (The Korean Vegan)
Max La Manna
Ian Theasby (BOSH!)
Henry Firth (BOSH!)
Julius Fiedler (Hermann)
Babette Davis (Stuff I Eat)
Gabrielle Reyes (One Great Vegan)
Kristina Carrillo-Bucaram (FullyRawKristina)
Derek Sarno (Wicked Kitchen)
Chad Sarno (Wicked Kitchen)
Todd Anderson (Turnip Vegan)
Ricky Saward (Seven Swans)
Nisha Vora (Rainbow Plant Life)
Jenné Claiborne (Sweet Potato Soul)
Sadia Badiei (Pick Up Limes)
Dr. Robin de Rozario (Pick Up Limes)
Tara Punzone (Pura Vita)
Remy Morimoto Park (Veggiekins)
Erin McKenna (Erin McKenna’s Bakery)
Maya Madsen (Maya’s Cookies)
Bailey Ruskus (Chef Bai)
Adjoa Courtney (Chef Joya)
Shenarri Freeman (Cadence)
Heather Golden Ray (Spork Foods)
Jenny Engel (Spork Foods)
Aubry Walch (The Herbivorous Butcher)
Kale Walch (The Herbivorous Butcher)
Tabay Atkins (Tabay’s Mindful Kitchen)
Tezeta “Tete” Alemayehu (Berbere)