Green is the New Pink

...at least when it comes to slime. Pink Slime, photo from the New York Daily News...

 You may remember the pink slime controversy a few months back, when people were disturbed to learn that 70% of ground beef contains "finely textured beef" trimmings sprayed with ammonia gas.  After a Department of Agriculture microbiologist dubbed the substance pink slime, the controversy went viral and many people demanded the removal of pink slime from food [1]. Well, now there's a new alarming factory farmed byproduct: green slime.  Blue-green algae is infesting lakes and rivers, making people and companion animals ill and costing billions of dollars in lost revenue, environmental, and public health costs. As The Atlantic reports, phosphorus runoff from factory farm manure and fertilizer is causing green slime blooms across the country.  The cyanobacteria produce liver- and neuro-toxins that can infect people who fish or swim in lakes. Photo of blue-green algae from The Atlantic[/caption] Algae is particularly deadly for animals that drink water or lick the algae off of their fur, and as a result many counties are warning people not to let their pets swim in lakes and rivers.  If there's a chance your companion animal might come into contact with cyanobacteria, be sure to read this advice from Dog Heirs blog. The algae blooms are also costing local businesses and municipalities billions of dollars in lost revenue and increased water treatment costs. There are steps that farmers can take to prevent fertilizer from polluting local water sheds.  However, the article does not mention the nearly 355 million tons of manure produced by factory farms [2] that are not used for fertilizer, much of which is illegally dumped into public waterways [3], [4]. By participating in Meatless Mondays, we can decrease the number of animals raised on factory farms and thereby decrease the amount of manure that's polluting our public waterways. [1] ABC News. 70 Percent of Ground Beef at Supermarkets Contains Slime, 7 March 2012. [2] USDA Agricultural Research Service. FY-2005 Annual Report Manure and Byproduct Utilization, 31 May 2006. [3] National Resources Defense Council. Conservation Groups Vow to Sue Florida Dairies for Contaminating Waterways. September 24, 2003. [4] Chesapeake Bay Journal.  Smithfield gets record fine for polluting Virginia river. September 1997.


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