This Map Shows The Impact Of The American Meat Industry

Perfectly medium roasted Roast Beef cut into slices.
Perfectly medium roasted Roast Beef cut into slices.

A new report from environmental organisation Mighty Earth shows the impact of the American meat trade.

The investigation shows how the industry's manure and fertiliser pollution are contaminating water – and look to have caused one of the largest Dead Zones on record in the Gulf of Mexico this year.

This has happened as a result of manure and fertiliser being washed off the fields that grow feed for livestock. This creates algae blooms which result in zones so toxic that fish and other aquatic life can no longer survive there.

Tyson Foods, which owns brands such as Sara Lee and sells to chains like McDonald's, 'stood out for its expansive footprint in all the regions suffering the worst pollution impacts from industrial meat and feed production,' according to the report – although the company's new CEO has committed to investing in sustainability.

This map, from Mighty Earth, shows nitrate levels by watershed in 2016 and is overlaid with Tyson and top feed supplier facilities.


"Americans should not have to choose between producing food and having healthy clean water", Mighty Earth campaign director Lucia von Reusner said of the findings.

Speaking to The Guardian, a Tyson spokesperson said: "we don't agree with the group's characterization of our company but share its interest in protecting the environment."

"It's true the livestock and poultry industry is a major buyer of grain for feed, however, the report fails to note that a large percentage of corn raised in the US is used for biofuel and that a significant portion is used for human consumption."

"Tyson Foods is focused on continuous improvement. We are constantly looking to improve and lead the industry, so that we can deliver sustainable food to people every day at a scale that matters to the world."

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