Environmental racism is placement of low-income or minority communities in proximity of environmentally hazardous or degraded environments, such as toxic waste, pollution and urban decay
“Animal agriculture is incredibly harmful, and is a major driver of climate change. The UN recently released a report that said “animal products, both meat and dairy, in general require more resources and cause higher emissions than plant-based alternatives”. Animal products cause a huge amount of deforestation. Factory farms andslaughterhouses also contribute to a large amount of environmental racism, especially in poor communities. Production of animal products harms or kills many native communities in South America, both through deforestation and murders committed by ranchers.
Factory farms produce a massive amount of pollution, and a single farm can produce over one and a half times more toxic waste in a year than the entire city of Philadelphia. The CDC estimates that livestock produce between 3-20 times more waste than all of the people in the USA. This pollution invariably leads to runoff into local water systems, which can lead to both groundwater contamination and ocean dead zones. Water contamination is further compounded by the fact that livestock currently uses up about a third of the Earth’s fresh water.
People working in slaughterhouses are at a far higher chance of being perpetrators of domestic violence due to trauma, desensitisation and the normalisation of violence, compared with the general population. They are also much more likely than average to have problems with alcohol abuse and with mental health issues like PTSD from working under extremely stressful conditions. Unfortunately these are most often poor immigrants with no other choice. These are the same slaughterhouses who process animals regardless of whether they are factory farmed, free range, organic or grass fed. In 2004/5 there were 2270 injury claims made in the meat processing industry, most of which were due to falls, injuries with knives and ‘body stressing’. People working in tanneries to make leather from the skin of animals that have been killed are exposed to numerous dangerous chemicals (chromium being the worst). The chemicals can cause cancer, skin diseases, respiratory illnesses while the machinery is also dangerous and can result in amputations. In India, people have died due to the exposure to these chemicals, due to unsafe working conditions. People have also died in Bangladesh and are affected by the chemicals in a multitude of ways. These chemicals can also leach into the water supply and affect the air and soil quality, which in turn causes illnesses and diseases in nearby populations.
Read more about the environmental impact where I continue to respectfully sample vegan-invader and darthfeyder here!