Senator Elizabeth Warren [D-MA] is co-sponsoring a bill introduced by Senator Cory Booker [D-NJ] to shut down large-scale factory farming. Representative Rohit Khanna is also co-sponsoring the bill.
The Farm System Reform Act (FSRA) put forward by Booker in December aims to transition agriculture away from the factory farming system. Ninety-nine percent of all animal products in the U.S. currently come from factory farms.
By 2040, FSRA aims to phase-out large concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). The bill would support smaller farmers by placing an immediate moratorium on new CAFOs and forcing others to stop expanding.
Over a period of 10 years, $100 billion would help CAFO owners transition to more sustainable forms of agriculture.
According to Newsweek, Warren is now supporting the bill following the latest reports of unsafe conditions in the meat industry.
A number of slaughterhouses have closed down in recent weeks due to outbreaks of coronavirus. Many plant workers have reported unsafe working conditions. A lawsuit was brought against pork giant Smithfield over its failure to protect employees from the virus.
‘A More Sustainable and Humane System’
“For years, regulators looked the other way while giant multinational corporations crushed competition in the agriculture sector and seized control over key markets,” said Warren in a statement. “The COVID-19 crisis will make it easier for Big Ag to get even bigger, gobble up smaller farms, and lead to fewer choices for consumers.”
She added: “We need to attack this consolidation head-on and give workers, farmers, and consumers bargaining power in our farm and food system. I’m glad to partner with Senator Booker and Representative Khanna to start reversing the hyper-concentration in our farm economy.”
CAFOs aren’t just harmful to people, they’re detrimental to the environment too. One farm of 5,000 pigs, for example, can produce as much waste as a town of 20,000 people.
“Large factory farms are harmful to rural communities, public health, and the environment,” Booker said in a statement last year. “We must immediately begin to transition to a more sustainable and humane system, such as raising pasture-based livestock, growing specialty crops, or organic commodity production.”