Farm System Reform Act

What is the Farm System Reform Act (S. 271/H.R. 797)?

The Farm System Reform Act was introduced by Senator Cory Booker in the Senate and Representative Ro Khanna in the House of Representatives.

If passed, this bill will:

  • Place a moratorium on large, concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs)–or factory farms– that keep thousands of cows and hundreds of thousands of chickens in confined spaces, in order to phase them out fully by January 1, 2041.
  • Help CAFO owners transition to other practices and/or crop production.
  • Update country of origin labeling for beef and pork products.
  • Require country of origin labeling for dairy products.
  • Strengthen the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921 to protect independent farmers and agriculture works from monopolies and unfair practices.

Why we support the Farm System Reform Act:

COVID-19 has brought to light the enormous public health risks associated with the industries that harm animals. The Farm System Reform Act is essential to promote human health, animal protection, and ensuring sustainable and transparent agriculture and food systems in America. By encouraging transparency between farmers and consumers, consumers can make informed decisions about their food.

  • CAFOs can cause multiple human health harms including a significant risk of pandemics. Abusive treatment like confinement and mutilation of animals in farms contributes to outbreaks of zoonotic diseases, infectious diseases that can be transmitted from animals to humans. The intensive confinement of animals provides the right biological setting for viruses to transform into lethal viruses for humans.
  • CAFO-produced manure contains pathogens that contaminate nearby water and land, causing food-borne outbreaks.
  • CAFOs emit fumes and particulate matter that elevates rates of asthma, lung disease, and bronchitis in nearby communities and workers.
  • CAFOs use more than 70% of all antibiotics in the United States and worldwide.
    This high antibiotic use causes significant antibiotic resistance and will lead to the post-antibiotic era in which many common infectious diseases will no longer be treatable by antibiotics.
  • CAFOs have an enormous environmental impact. It is a leading cause of climate change and a threat to biodiversity.
  • CAFOs are a leading contributor to environmental degradation caused by discharge and runoff.
  • More than 90% of the freshwater footprint is used for agriculture and approximately one-third relates to animal products.
  • CAFOs cause more than 35% of methane and over 80% of nitrous oxide emissions.
  • The land required for CAFOs contributes to deforestation (at the rate of 5 million hectares or the area of Costa Rica per year) which threatens existing wildlife and biodiversity.
  • CAFOs are sustained by a monoculture crop system, which diminishes soil quality and erodes topsoil.
  • CAFOs cause pollution that directly impacts our air, water, and land.

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