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Farming

The Factory Farm Map: Your Chicken PSA of the Day

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Thu, Dec 16, 2010 at 2:00 PM

click to enlarge factoryfarm.jpg

Ominous splotches of burgundy, salmon, and peach are usually reserved for maps illuminating the presence of sex offenders, spiraling crime rates, and dangerous pollution levels. Upon pulling up Food & Water Watch's interactive Factory Farm Map, some people will see that magnitude of foulness along with the fowl: broilers in Sonoma County and egg-laying chickens in San Bernardino and Riverside Counties, all crammed into warehouses the size of shoeboxes and treated with a degree of indelicacy usually reserved for war criminals.

Dig the charts and streams of pertinent facts. The number of factory farm-raised animals rose between 1997 and 2007. The number of animals per factory farm grew during the same period. When you zoom in on a particular state, the information gets more specific, as you toggle between hogs, cattle, chickens, and dairy. For example, we just learned that half the egg-laying chicken factory farms are housed in just five states, one of which is California. The color-coded density levels are like cup sizes at Starbucks. "Extreme" is reserved for the most factory farm-plagued regions, followed by "Severe," "High," "Moderate," and, finally, "None." Naturally, there is no "Low."

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