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Introduce Bill to End Government Subsidies for Animal Agriculture

This petition had 14,149 supporters

We applaud the aggressive reforms outlined in Senator Sanders' plans for combating the detriment to our ecosystem humans are causing. However, there is one immensely destructive industry, largely left out of the environmental conversation, not addressed in those plans.

We are calling for all subsidization of this industry to be ended. Animal agriculture is:

  • using a vast amount of our freshwater; it is a major contributor to the dire and growing problem of drought and water shortage across the globe. The amount of water used to raise animals for human consumption dwarfs the amount used for growing plants for us to consume. A hundred billion gallons of water is being exported from California each year - in the form of alfalfa, to feed livestock. That’s enough to provide for the yearly water usage of a million families. The UN estimates that by 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the world's population could be living under water stressed conditions.
  • a major source of air pollution. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) found animal agriculture responsible for 14.5% - 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions - more than the entire transportation sector. Climate scientists published a report detailing missing data from the FAO's calculations, and pegged the real figure at a whopping 51%.
  • a major source of water pollution. In the 2000 National Water Quality Inventory conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency, agricultural activity was identified as a source of pollution for 48% of stream and river water, and for 41% of lake water. The top source of this pollution is the storage and disposal of animal waste. First, storage tanks often leak, rupture, or overflow. Second, the way the industry disposes of the waste is by spraying it onto farms as fertilizer; however, the farms produce far more waste than is needed for this application, so the (excessive) excess runs off into surrounding water systems. High levels of nitrogen and phosphorous, an effect of fertilizer runoff, is the most common form of water pollution in the United States. In addition, there are toxic substances in the animals’ excretions, such as pharmaceuticals and bacteria, which cause damage to the environment, wildlife, and human health.
  • occupying over half of Earth’s arable land. It is behind the majority of deforestation, land degradation, and species extinction. Despite these intensive impacts, it has been estimated that one in eight people still suffer from food scarcity - and it's only getting worse. According to the FAO, "the number of hungry is currently climbing at the rate of some four million a year." Animal agriculture is in fact an impediment, not a contributor, to ending world hunger.

Even those still consuming products of animal agriculture ought to support stopping taxpayer money propping up this destructive industry, as many in the scientific, as well as health, community have warned us of the need to curb consumption.

As well, there are no two ways about it: animal agriculture is unconscionably cruel to the individuals who are its commodities.

In light of all we know about this industry's devastating impacts on the health of the planet and ourselves, as well as its inherently inhumane exploitation of sentient beings, it does not make sense for us to be subsidizing it.

This is a case of the profits of a few taking precedence over the benefit of the many. Bringing an end to all funding, both direct and indirect, of animal agriculture by the U.S. government would be a huge step with many positive effects, not the least of which is helping to reverse catastrophic environmental deterioration.



Photo credit: Darren McCollester/Getty Images, source:

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