By Holly Richmond
Oct 4, 2013
America’s heartland! Place of milk and honey! Where cows frolic happily in fields full of corn, butterflies, and maple syrup (just go with it). Or not? You’re telling me the flatlands are actually covered in festering scabs, thanks to factory farming? OK, maybe YOU aren’t telling me that, but British photographer Mishka Henner is.
Above: A waste lagoon at Coronado Feeders, Dalhart, Texas. Yuck.
Henner didn’t set out to make an artsy statement about the environmental destruction of feedlots. He was initially looking for aerial shots of oil fields when he found the gruesome photography. Fast Company explains:
Massive waste lagoons, which waft up dangerous hydrogen sulfide fumes and can contaminate groundwater with nitrates and antibiotics, first resemble open, infected wounds …
“I came across these really strange-looking structures, like a big lagoon, or all these dots that look like microbes,” Henner says. “We have factory farming in England, but we don’t have it on that scale. I was just absolutely blown away.”
Tacosa Feedyard’s waste lagoon in Texas or nuclear waste site?
Thankfully, Henner is safe from increasingly popular ag-gag laws preventing feedlot photography, since the photos are open-source imagery from satellites. (He previously showcased open-source aerial shots of military outposts for a 2010 book.)
Who’s hungry for some tasty industrial beef?
Holly Richmond (hollyrichmond.com) writes and edits things for fun and money. She worked for Grist in the 1890s. Please follow her on Twitter because that is the entire basis of her self-esteem.