Map: Factory Farms

In: Food Interactive Maps

7 Jan 2011

Want to know how many cows live in your state? How about the average chickens per farm? The site obviously has a slight bias on food issues, but the data is well presented and the methodology is laid out clearly (something that is missing on too many data visualizations). Personally, I have no problem with killing animals and eating them, and agree that they shouldn’t suffer horribly crappy lives beforehand. (Related blog post).


3 Responses to Map: Factory Farms



January 7th, 2011 at 12:03 pm

You should also be concerned about the nutritiousness of the food that comes from these farms. When cows ate grass and chickens ate bugs (which ate grass) and grass, you were indirectly getting lots of stuff is in the grass that you need. Now they just eat corn, so the meat is cheap, but not as good for you as it used to be. Read Michael Pollan’s _The Omnivore’s Dilemma_ for more about all that. It’s a very entertaining read and not at all moralizing or anti-meat (Pollan eats meat).




January 7th, 2011 at 4:29 pm

Even those indifferent to animal welfare should be aware of the consequences of concentrated animal feeding operations’ use antibiotics and releases of sewage. Every day people die from antibiotic resistant bacteria likely bred on CAFOs. There are rivers no longer safe for fishing or recreation. David Kirby’s _Animal Factory_ (2010) is a good introduction.

To amplify David’s points, the health merit of animal products forming a large proportion of the diet was dubious before the advent of CAFOs. As one learns of the amounts of parasites and pollutants now normally found in grocery samples, eating lower on the food chain becomes a no-brainer. Dr. Michael Greger’s annual reviews of nutrition literature (some on youtube) no doubt have a bias (he’s director of public health for the Humane Society of the US), but the peer-reviewed research stands on its own.


Siobhan R

January 8th, 2011 at 12:06 am

Some disclaimers upfront: I grow some of my own food, I’m not a vegetarian, I prefer to be a locavore/organic whenever possible. So I support the underlying precepts of this map (per the linked blog). That said, I looked to my home state/region first and found some weird numbers – hope it’s a fluke or there’s a good explanation, because I’d actually like to share the chart. I work with numbers all goddamn day, so things like this jump out: compare San Joaquin and Merced Counties, specifically hogs.


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