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Capitalism has caused many issues when it comes into the environmental front. But many of these environmental issues re also known to target poor and minorities, either directly or indirectly. Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs, are one of the environmental issues that are purposefully targeting poor minority neighborhoods.
What are CAFOs
CAFOs are places where a lot of animals are concentrated to be used as meat. This often creates a lot of waste, and is extremely harmful to the animals. This is often pig farms, where the majority of the pork in the US comes from.
A lot of the pig waste gets contained in large open pools, out in the open. The fumes from these places is often unbearable, with many unable to breath properly due to it.
How do they they target the poor and minorities?
Many CAFOs specifically seek out low income communities of color. This is because white-majority neighborhoods are likely to combat the building of the farm, and are able to get them shut down if they get sick.
“The proportion of African American, Hispanic, and Native American people living within three miles of a North Carolina pig CAFO are 1.54, 1.39, and 2.18 times higher, respectively. “People of color and the poor living in rural communities lacking the political capacity to resist are said to shoulder the adverse socio-economic, environmental, or health related effects of swine waste externality without sharing in the economic benefits brought by industrialized pork production.” Communities of color and low-income communities also lack the resources to leave compromised areas, where they are trapped by decreasing property values and plummeting quality of life.”
Many people are suffering from breathing problems, heart issues, and otherwise have poor health due to the fact that when the CAFO pools get too full, they soak it up and spray it into the surrounding communities. This is not OK and needs to be addressed.
What can we do to help
Writing to your legislator and voting for better ones that will help to bring about environmental justice is something that we all should do. Nobody should have to live in filth just because some pig farms want to save a few dollars. Everyone has the right to live a happy and healthy life.
Another thing that we can do is to not eat so much meat. The US and the EU eats a lot of meat, and not only does this have awful effects for the environment, but it also causes CAFOs to exist in order to meet the demand. If there was less demand, there would be less of a reason for these CAFOs to exist.
It pains me to know that some people have to live next to tons of waste, and the fact that they are targeted due to the color of their skin infuriates me. But hopefully, we can all work together in order to make this world a better place.