A River of Waste

The Hazardous Truth About Factory Farms

92 minutes 10.0/10 based on 3 votes

A River of Waste: The Hazardous Truth about Factory Farming exposes the little-known, but painful truth about the industrial system of meat and poultry production. In the U.S. as well as in other countries, the meat and poultry industry uses dangerous levels of arsenic, antibiotics, and growth hormones to produce what ends up on our plates as food.

Family owned farms seem to be quickly becoming a thing of the past. In fact, 95% of the poultry available in supermarkets comes from factory farms. And this method of farming is doing a lot more harm than good.

This film documents the disastrous effect that factory farms have on the environment and on public health.  In fact, the American Health Association has called for a suspension on new operations. And the World Watch Institute issued a report in 2006 in which it warned that factory farms were turning into “mini Chernobyls” because of the vast pollution created by these facilities.

When at the turn of the 20th Century the mechanization and industrialization of meat processing was brought on, it led to one of the greatest scandals in modern times. This scandal was documented in detail by Upton Sinclair in his best-selling book called “The Jungle.” The embarrassment of the exposure led to greater controls for meat production. But sadly, those regulations lasted only until late in the 20th Century when a few big corporations took over. What happened next was that thousands of animals were crammed into limited space where they could barely move. These animals produce huge mountains of waste daily. And this waste has ended up diminishing human quality of life because it is dumped indifferently into the already fragile environment and waterways.

The film also centers on the individual lives that have been damaged or destroyed through confined animal feeding operations (CAFOS). Take for instance what happened in Prairie Grove, Arkansas. Chicken waste was regularly spread out in the fields close to the community and right across the street from the local school. Test of household dust revealed arsenic levels way above those that are normally considered safe. Little did they know that something they had smelled their entire lives could have been poisoning them for years. An unusually high number of people, especially children, who were living in close proximity received cancer diagnoses and many died. Was this merely a coincidence?

How can each one of us find solutions to problems that are so big and so challenging? Watch this documentary now.

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