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American Journal of Preventive Medicine Article Implicates Factory Farming in Health, Environmental Problems

The Humane Society of the United States

The American Journal of Preventive Medicine's February 2009 issue includes an article by a public health expert with The Humane Society of the United States that points to factory farming as a major threat to public health and the environment.

The article, "Heath Professionals' Roles in Animal Agriculture, Climate Change, and Human Health," is co-authored by Michael Greger, MD, The HSUS' director of public health and animal agriculture, and other public health professionals such as Erica Frank, MD, president of Physicians for Social Responsibility.

It implicates factory farming as a primary cause of environmental degradation, epidemics of chronic disease and obesity, and infectious diseases that can be passed from animals to humans. It encourages health professionals to encourage healthier and more environmentally-sustainable diets.

The article concludes, "Given the animal agriculture sector's considerable role in environmental degradation, zoonotic disease emergence, and chronic disease promotion, reducing livestock production and promoting healthy plant-based diets should be a global health priority."

The American Journal of Preventive Medicine is one of the world's most-cited general medicine journals.


  • The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has issued reports suggesting that animal agriculture is increasing risks to public health and the global climate.
  • The American Public Health Association has urged federal, state and local authorities to impose a moratorium on new factory farms out of concern for the health of workers and local communities, given the land, air and water pollution that factory farms create.
  • Each year, U.S. factory farms raise and kill more than nine billion farm animals.


The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 10.5 million Americans, or one of every 30. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — On the web at humanesociety.org.