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For far too long, corporate giants in the factory farming industry have continued to make profits during natural disasters while their animals, workers, and local communities suffer. In fact, meat industry giants companies saw a 300% growth in profits during the pandemic while frontline farmers were left without pay, slaughterhouse workers died without proper personal protective equipment, and millions of animals were culled, often with cheap, inhumane methods such as firefighting foam and ventilation shutdown plus (VSD+). Much of this suffering could have been prevented with preplanning, but without incentive to do so, many mega-agriculture giants opt for protecting profits instead of animals and people.
Luckily, an act has been introduced in the Senate that would place responsibility for the harms of factory farming on animals, workers, and communities where it belongs—on those who profit most from factory farming. The Industrial Agriculture Accountability Act (IAA) would introduce a suite of reforms to the USDA and to the regulation of large animal feeding operations (AFOs), including:
- Establish an Office of High-Risk AFO Disaster Mitigation and Enforcement within the USDA.
- Require AFO owners to submit detailed reports about the potential disasters they may encounter and mitigation plans, including plans to protect animals during a natural disaster or move them to safety.
- Ban ventilation shutdown (VSD), ventilation shutdown plus (VSD+), and water-based foaming, three of the cruelest culling methods, and require the USDA to issue a ruling on acceptable culling methods that are as humane as possible if culling is unavoidable.
- Create a public database to house AFO disaster mitigation plans and information on culling events that can be used to bring violators to court.
- Ensure contract farmers and their workers are properly compensated after a natural disaster occurs or if mitigation plans fail, including for loss of revenue, overtime work, medical expenses, severance, etc.
- Require AFO owners to compensate local communities for any damages caused by the farm during a natural disaster, including water pollution cleanup, loss of property value, and health impacts.
In brief, the IAA would force factory farms to own up to the negative externalities of their operations that they have long placed on animals, people, and the planet. Tell your Senators to Cosponsor the Industrial Agriculture Accountability Act today.
As your constituent, I am writing to ask you to cosponsor the Industrial Agriculture Accountability Act of 2022 (S.272). This legislation would improve fairness and stop runaway profits within the factory farming industry by placing responsibility for the industry's damages where it belongs—on those who profit most from industrialized animal agriculture.
For too long, the largest meat processors have outrageously exploited animals, people, and nature by avoiding responsibility when their systems fail simply to maximize their profits. Within the past decade alone, industry giants have continued to rake in profits during hurricanes, avian influenza outbreaks, the Covid-19 pandemic, and other disasters while failing to supply basic protections for the animals, frontline farmers and slaughterhouse workers, and fenceline communities they depend on. During the pandemic alone, meat corporations saw 300% increase in profits while frontline farmers were left without pay, slaughterhouse workers died without proper personal protective equipment, and millions of healthy animals were culled, often with cheap, inhumane methods such as firefighting foam and ventilation shutdown plus (VSD+). Moreover, the animals' bodies were either burned or buried in unregulated open pits, poisoning local groundwater and releasing toxic air pollutants. Much of this suffering could have been prevented with preplanning, but without incentive to do so, many mega-agriculture giants have opted to protect profits instead of animals and people.
In addition, the frequency and intensity of natural disasters such as hurricanes, heat waves, and floods will only increase with climate change. Factory farm operators are well aware of this, and yet have done nothing to protect animals, workers, and communities when disaster strikes.
This legislation would hold the owners of high-risk animal feeding operations (AFOs) responsible for preplanning to mitigate and prevent farmed animal, worker, and community suffering for potential disasters BEFORE they occur.
In conclusion, the Industrial Agriculture Accountability Act would protect Americans and farmed animals by fairly placing liability for the harms of factory farms where it should have been all along—on those who profit most from factory farming. I urge you to consider cosponsoring this important legislation on behalf of animals, nature, people, and the planet. Thank you for your consideration.