Skillful Means: Brighter Green’s Case study the growth of Factory Farming in China.

Brighter Green, the NY based environmental action tank, just released a new case study about the growth of production and consumption of meat, eggs and dairy in China. This report is part of a larger project exploring the globalization of factory farming and the environmental and social implications.

The China case study is particularly timely. 2008 alone has been an intense one for China. Snowstorms this winter, contributed to crop failure and have been partially attributed to the recent food crisis. Earthquake in Sichuan was devastating and led to the collapse of many structures. The government is responding to help the animal industries that were harmed and the new building code may favor medium to larger facilities housing more animals. Much attention has been drawn to the use of corn as either biofuel in the U.S. or animal feed around the world, particularly in places like China, which has a growing appetite for meat.

Preparation for the 2008 Olympics had considerable challenges and controversy dealing with environmental and air quality issues, as well as human rights in China, Tibet, Burma and Darfur. Food safety has been an increased concern after the pet food recalls last year and the Japanese dumpling scare earlier this year. Tyson foods shipped in 25,000 pounds of meat to the U.S. Olympics team, in attempt to avoid potentially steroid laden meats in China.

Tyson’s also is investing in the poultry industry in China with two joint ventures with Chinese firms this year alone. Last year,Smithfields started exporting pork to China and this year a Chinese firm COFCO bought almost 5% of Smithfields stock. They hope to learn from Smithfields to expand their pork industry. China is set on ensuring its “strategic pork reserve.”

Animal diseases like blue ear and avian influenza have hit China hard.

The Pew Commission earlier this year put out a report about Industrial Farm Animal Operations in America and the serious problems they bring to communities, public health, air quality, water resources and farm animals and expressed concern about the spread of these facilities around the world and how the same companies who profitted from this model and now looking for other markets.

As China expands and develops, it is important that these issues are addressed now and the implications of such growth are fully understood.

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~ by sangamithra on August 21, 2008.

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