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Factory Farming

As generally used in public discourse, factory farming and confined animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are different terms for the same, currently dominant system of animal agriculture in which animals are concentrated in small areas; in addition, CAFO is a legal designation in the United States. The unprecedented pollution created by this historically unusual form of agriculture prompted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to create the designation “confined animal feeding operation,” or CAFO. All farms legally designated as CAFOs would be considered factory farms, but a modest percentage (less than 10%) of farms typically considered factory farms—and even casually referred to as CAFOs—may instead be legally designated as “animal feeding operations” (or AFOs) by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Utilizing U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics, we can ...

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