In 2005, the ELCA’s Advisory Committee on Corporate Social Responsibility (ACCSR) resolved to have livestock operations that supply the church report on the environmental impact of their operations. To support the necessity of this decision, the ACCSR explained that concentrated animal feeding operations (also known as CAFOs or factory farms) emit harmful levels of toxins into the air and water that constitutes “a public health hazard.” Concern over the environmental impact of factory farms is consistent with the ELCA’s social statement on economic life, which states that economic decisions should be ecologically responsible and “help sustain humans and the rest of creation now and in the future.”

  “The environmental impacts of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) on air and water are of particular concern. Leakage from CAFO waste lagoons and runoff have contaminated surface water and drinking water, impaired aquatic ecosystems, and reduced fish and shellfish harvests...A study by Iowa State University concluded that ‘CAFO air emissions may constitute a public health hazard and that precautions should be taken to minimize’ chemical and odor exposures from CAFOs.”
—ELCA, Advisory Committee on Corporate Social Responsibility: Sustainability Report - Environmental Performance, 2005 Shareholders Resolutions Issue for Sustainability.

The Humane Society of the United States shares the official statements on animals by the ELCA Lutheran Church.
Dr. Aysha Akhtar
The sheep barn, Farm Sanctuary
Photographs by Bill Kauffman
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