Joaquin Phoenix Responds to Industrial Animal Agriculture’s Greenwashing of Factory Farm ‘Biogas’
Animal Legal Defense Fund and Phoenix partner to expose dangers of this emerging industry gaining traction with considerable investments from government entities
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the Animal Legal Defense Fund and Academy Award-winning actor and producer Joaquin Phoenix released a video exposing the deceptive marketing of factory farm ‘biogas’ by the industrial animal agriculture industry in response to increasing support and tax credits for the production of the gas via state and federal policies and legislation.
Grants, tax credits, and other subsidies extended to the industry incentivize further consolidation and even larger facilities warehousing thousands of animals. Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) go largely unregulated, even though they are known to be high polluters. California incentivizes factory farm gas production through a Low Carbon Fuel Standard program. New York and Oklahoma introduced legislation in the past session that would have funded infrastructure and/or offered tax credits for factory farm biogas producers. Federally, incentives for factory farm biogas have consistently been on the agenda. The federal Renewable Fuel Standard rewards factory farm gas producers with credits which can be retained or sold to the Environmental Protection Agency, exemptions from reporting requirements have been included for factory farm biogas in previous appropriation bills, the Inflation Reduction Act includes incentives for factory farm biogas, and we anticipate seeing more to prop up this industry as discussions continue around the 2023 Farm Bill.
“The portrayal of the pollution and methane gas that emit from manure lagoons as naturally occurring and renewable are unequivocally false,” says Phoenix. “There is nothing natural about artificially inseminating cows and pigs and housing thousands of animals in windowless warehouses. Incentivizing unregulated polluters to expand operations and telling the public it is environmental-friendly policy is deplorable.”
The two-minute video explains the production process of factory farm gas and is available online at aldf.org/biogasbullshit.
“The industrial animal agriculture industry is already subsidized to the detriment of animals and taxpayers alike,” says Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells. “We need to be eliminating subsidies, not additionally allowing animal agriculture to profit from its own pollution.”
Factory farm gas can be disguised within terms such as “biogas,” “renewable natural gas,” “biofuel,” “biomethane,” and others.
On CAFOs, thousands of animals produce billions of pounds of waste. The feces and urine are flushed from the floors using hundreds of gallons of water multiple times a day. The runoff is driven into manure lagoons — typically the size of multiple football fields. As the waste decomposes, it emits methane and other greenhouse gases and pollutants. Factory farm gas producers use methane digesters — often just large tarps stretched over manure lagoons — to capture and prepare the gas. The gas is then transported via a pipeline to a facility to be processed.
For more information, visit aldf.org.
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