This week on Surviving The 21st Century Mannie Barling, Ashley F. Brooks and Simon Barrett will be exploring the world of CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations). To most people this is the fancy term for what many call Factory Farming.

Wikipedia describes it as:

A Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO) is an animal feeding facility that confines animals for more than 45 days in an area that does not produce vegetation during the growing season and the number of animals is equal to or over 1000 cattle, 30000 laying hens, etc. It is a term coined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency to describe facilities that have a potential pollution profile. EPA upgrades the definition with new information and federal directives consequently the most accurate and up to date definition.

In a nutshell animals are contained in overcrowded conditions and fed a diet designed to fatten them up for market. In the case of cattle corn is the diet of choice. CAFO poses many issues. All of which are causes for concern.

Corn as a diet supplement is not a natural food for cattle. It has a marked effect on the animals, it significantly increases acidosis in the animals stomach. It is a race between fattening the animal and killing the animal.

With so many animals in such close confinement leads to other health concerns and a subject that the industry prefers to gloss over is the reported extensive use of antibiotics. It raises the question are we getting a dose of antibiotics in our T-bone steak?

Another problem, that seems humorous at first, but is anything but humorous is the subject of animal waste. Anyone who has lived in cattle country are familiar with the perfume peculating the air from a herd of cows grazing in a meadow. The Eau de Toilette from a CAFO is a real issue. The issue is what to do with all of this sludge? The most common solution is to capture it in artificial lagoons for future disposal. This raises environmental issues, what happens if and when it leaks into the ground water? A byproduct of this sludge is the production of methane. Technically it could be captured as an energy source, however this is rarely done.

It us usual for these lagoons to fitted with a thick plastic plastic liner to prevent leakage however this solution also has its fallibilities. What happens if the sludge finds a way to get under the liner?


Huge methane bubbles can form. These are no joke, they can be extremely dangerous and explosive. I have been unable to track down the actual story, but the New York Times mentioned a case where a farmer was seriously hurt in a methane explosion.

I do hope that you will join us on Saturday at 10am Pacific, 1pm Eastern to listen to what I am sure will be a lively discussion.

You can listen live by using this link.
Mannie Barling and Ashley F. Brooks, R.N., are the authors of the award winning books – Arthritis, Inflammation, Gout, Crohn’s, IBD and IBS – How to Eliminate Pain and Extend your Life (Books and Authors 2010 Best Books in the Health, Diet & Reference Categories) and Mannie’s Diet and Enzyme Formula – A Change of Lifestyle Diet Designed for Everyone (Blogger News Net 2010 Best Health And Nutrition Book Award winner) available at, Amazon, Barnes&Noble, and other booksellers around the world.
The authors’ latest book, It’s Not Your Fault – Weight Gain, Obesity and Food Addiction is now available at, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and booksellers everywhere.

Simon Barrett

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