Striking Satellite Photos Show What the Meat Industry Is Really Doing to America

The textured photographs below are not watercolor abstractions capturing the rich and diverse American landscape.

Rather, they depict factory farms, which as a New York Times editorial puts it, are where "animal husbandry has been turned into animal abuse" as animals are packed into expansive yet crowded spaces and fed until they're ready to be slaughtered. 

Such facilities are objectively disgusting, and are among the most vile sources of pollution and environmental destruction in the country. But British artist Mishka Henner, who has spent years collecting satellite images of factory farm feedlots, shows us their other side.

Take a look:



Images: Mishka Henner via Business Insider

The photographs are available for purchase on Henner's website if you can't get enough on your screen.

The toll: There are more than 15,000 feedlots in the U.S, and 99% percent of all farmed animals in the country are raised on one.

The strangely colored pools you see in the images are actually "manure lagoons" for all the chemical animal waste the lots create. In case you couldn't tell just from looking at them, those huge lagoons are highly toxic.

These feedlots are foreign to us in part because the massive agricultural companies who run them have fought to keep their practices a secret. So-called "ag gag" laws make it criminal to take surreptitious footage of factory farm goings-on.

Ag gag laws have been on the books in eight states and were enacted in 15 more as of last year, according to Mother Jones. They aim to prevent farm workers, as well as activists from PETA and other organizations, from publicizing animal abuse. 

Luckily, Henner told Business Insider that he has not yet encountered any legal troubles thanks to ag gag laws. His work will go on display at ArtExpo in Chicago this September.

h/t Business Insider

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Matt Connolly

Matt has written for Mother Jones, the Washington Examiner and Chicago Public Radio among many others. He's a resident of Washington, D.C., but much like Bruce Springsteen and pork roll he is a product of New Jersey.

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