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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

August 6, 2014 at 6:04 AM

Agricultural disasters can be avoided by cutting out meat products

Last weekend the drinking water of 400,000 Toledo residents was fouled by animal waste ["Tainted Ohio water coming under increased scrutiny," Nation & World, Aug. 4]. With unfettered growth of animal agriculture and ineffective discharge regulations, it might happen again in our own state.

The problem has become pervasive. Waste from chicken farms has rendered ocean off the East Coast unfit for fishing. Waste from Midwest cattle ranches carried by the Mississippi River has created a permanent “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico larger than that of the infamous 2010 BP oil spill.

Animal agriculture dumps more pollution to our waterways than all other human activities combined. Principal pollutants are animal manure, fertilizers, as well as soil particles, organic debris and pesticides from feed cropland. Manure and fertilizers promote growth of toxic algae that poison drinking water supplies. Organic matter feeds microorganisms that deplete oxygen and kill fish.

Effective regulations to limit dumping of animal waste into water supplies have been blocked by the meat industry.

Fortunately, every one of us has the power to stop this outrage three times a day by saying no to polluting meat and dairy products. Our local supermarket offers ample alternatives. Entering “live vegan” in a search engine provides useful recipes and transition tips.

Sherman Peters, Seattle

Comments | More in Agriculture | Topics: agriculture, animals, Sherman Peters

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