It’s very odd sometimes watching how the same issues play out in different parts of the world. The French environment ministry confidently ascribes the growth of seaweed choking its beaches to farm runoff. The European Parliament denounces the establishment of very large-scale “meat factories.” China (China!) enacts a ban on growth-promoting uses of antibiotics in agriculture.
Here in the United States, on the other hand, the government gropes unsuccessfully for a way to put controls on confinement agriculture, despite evidence of its environmental harm, while at the same time those farms grow by an estimated 4,600 hogs and 5,800 broiler chickens per day.
For more of that difference between Europe and the US, look this week to England, where the Health Protection Agency has just rejected the zoning application for a hog farm that was small by US standards, with a plan for only 2,500 sows producing about 20,000 piglets. The HPA said:
… those living up to 150 meters downwind of an intensive swine farming installation could be at risk of adverse human health effects associated with exposure to multi-drug resistant organisms. (this .pdf, p.30 of 44)