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Factory Farming Destroying Chesapeake Bay

State officials urge residents to reduce their carbon footprint by cutting down on animal products.

Environmental experts are warning Virginia state residents that their high consumption of meat is polluting Chesapeake Bay. According to James Galloway, environmental sciences professor at University of Virginia at Charlottesville, Americans consume 30 percent more meat than is recommended. The effects of sustaining the high demand of animal products—namely runoff and nitrogen emissions—is having a direct effect on the water quality of Chesapeake Bay. “If everyone in the watershed consumed only the recommended amount of protein,” Galloway says, “reductions in nitrogen emissions would be substantial.” To help educate residents about how their dietary choices affect their immediate environment, the Environmental Protection Agency has launched a carbon footprint calculator where users can determine their individual impact based on their consumption of meat, dairy, and eggs. According to animal-rights organization Mercy For Animals, runoff from factory farms has polluted 33 percent of rivers in the United States.

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