Critical Thinking

The are raised only for consumption. About 1

The
Issues with Farming

            Most
people don’t ponder about the journey their food takes. Some people might
believe that the milk they drink came from a cow grazing on a grassy pasture
with an idyllic life, or eggs from a chicken that lives in a sanitary
environment. The reality can be very different, in fact quite shocking. The
food production process is unethical because it abuses and tortures farm
animals, they are raised in unhealthy living conditions, and produce and
distribute unhealthy foods leading to health problems.

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In the article “The welfare
of animals” by the Humane society of America, the author describes the cruelty
animals face in farms by stating “animals are viewed by industrialized
agriculture as commodities and suffer myriad assaults to their physical,
mental, and emotional well-being, typically denied the ability to engage in
their species-specific behavioral needs” (1).

Each year in the United States, approximately
11 billion animals are raised and killed for meat, eggs, and milk. 86% are
birds—98% of land animals in agriculture, majority of those animals are
chickens that are raised only for consumption. About 1 million killed each hour
and 340 million hens are raised in the industry. Every
year in the United States, approximately 35 million cattle are raised for beef
and more than 116 million pigs get slaughtered for their meat.

Poultry
are confined in their grower houses by the thousand and spend most of their
days in a poorly lit room with little to no space to move. They live and die in
enclosed spaces with terrible living conditions and genetic modifications to
increase growth and size. In the beginning, naturally some poultry do not have
the qualities of size that we see when we eat them. To get around this problem,
major breeders rely on artificial breeding, which often takes place at separate
artificial insemination facilities. After 2 or 3 days of a hen laying her eggs,
the same process occurs multiple times for about 25 weeks. Right when the eggs
are laid, they are shipped to a hatching facility. At the hatchery, thousands
of eggs are put in large incubators, set for high speeds with bright lights and
optimal heat and humidity, the eggs hatch in less than a month.

Once
the hatchlings leave their shells, their life has only begun through the
industrial process. Chicks are exposed to high-intensity light and partially
microwaved to prepare for a routine surgery to have their beaks and talons
removed. This prevents them from fighting one another in their tight living
space. They are stuck in one space, unable to move because of the amount of
food they are being forced to eat is making them fat, meaning less space. Once
the chicks reach optimal size they are sent to the slaughter house, where they
are hung on a conveyer belt to be killed. Cattle are equally abused, in the
article “cows used for food” by PETA, the author states,

“When still very young, many cows are branded
(burned with hot irons), dehorned (their horns are gouged out or cut or burned
off), and castrated (male cattle have their testicles ripped out of their
scrotums)—all without painkillers. Once they have grown large enough, cows
raised for beef are sent to massive, filthy outdoor feedlots, where they are
fattened for slaughter. Cows on dairy farms are repeatedly artificially
impregnated (to keep their milk flowing) and then traumatically separated from
their newborn calves until finally their bodies wear out and they are sent to
be killed, too.” (1) These animals are highly intelligent and understanding,
therefore they feel pain and discomfort from the food production process. Their
entire lives are spent being tortured just to be slaughtered.

The
conditions that farm animals face are more than brutal and unsanitary. In the
article “The Omnivore’s Delusion: Against the Agri-intellectuals” by Blake Hurst,
the author describes the living conditions of farm animals by saying “I warned
you that farming is still dirty and bloody, and I wasn’t kidding” (7). The
author shows that he was not speaking figurately, but literally. Animals are
forced to sit on their own waste due to the space and contract diseases and
bacteria that eventually spreads to the different animals. The areas are rarely
cleaned and only causes more health problems.

In
the article “factory farming and human health” by farm sanctuary, the author
reinforces unsanitary practices by stating

“Since
the 1950s, antibiotics have been used on factory farms to increase the rate of
growth in animals. Today, an expected 70 percent of the anti-microbials
utilized as a part of the U.S. are given to cultivate animals for non-therapeutic
purposes. Using antibiotics in this way can lead to drug-resistant bacteria; as
a result, certain bacterial infections have already become or are on their way
to becoming untreatable in humans. Antibiotic resistant infections kill 90,000
Americans every year. Poor sanitation and waste management on factory farms and
the poor management of animal waste can lead to the contamination of the food
supply by bacteria like E. coli and salmonella. Each year 76 million Americans
become sick from food borne illness, and thousands die. Some diseases, like H1N1
(Swine Flu) and Avian Flu, are communicable from animals to humans. These
“zoonotic” diseases have the potential to become pandemics. Experts believe
that the outbreak of H1N1 was likely caused by the overcrowding of pigs on
factory farms and the storage of their waste in giant manure lagoons” (1). This
shows the issues with hygiene in facilities, resulting in issues for the livestock.

 

The
issue with gruesome farming practices don’t only affect the livestock but the
people eating it as well. The food production industry leads to inadequate
quality foods for people and results in negative health effects, leading to low
quality life. In “Michael pollen” by Bill Moyers, the author explains the food
crisis by saying

“And
if you do hope to make progress in all these other areas, you must make sure
that if the Surgeon General is, you know, going on about the epidemic of type 2
diabetes, you don’t want to be signing farm bills that subsidize high fructose
corn syrup at the same time. So, you have to kind of align. A day. A day. We’ve
gone from 2,000 or 2,300 to 2,600, something like that. We all weigh on average
ten pounds more. And lo and behold, we have a serious epidemic of obesity, type
2 diabetes, heart disease, diet-related cancers. All these chronic diseases
which is now what kills us basically reliably in America are adding more than
$250 billion a year to healthcare costs. They are the reason that this
generation just being born now is expected to have a shorter lifespan than
their parents, that one in three Americans born in the year 2000, according to
the Centers for Disease Control, will have type 2 diabetes, which is a serious
sentence. It takes several years off your life. It gives you an 80 percent
chance of heart disease. It means you are going to be spending $14,000 a year
in added health costs. So, this is about how we’re eating”. (5)

Food
industries focus on certain products that are used in many fast food places
like corn, oils, etc. farms and food industries make more money the unhealthier
you get. In the article “too much of too little” by Eli Saslow the author
states

“instead
of trying to regulate the estimated $2 billion in junk-food purchases enabled
each year by food stamps, he wrote a bill to ban the food-stamp purchase of
only one product. That was energy drinks — high in caffeine and higher in
sugar, expensive and marketed to children despite offering little nutritional
value. “A no-brainer,” he explained as he introduced the bill in a committee
meeting last summer. Then he yielded the microphone and waited for rebuttals.
The first critic was one he had anticipated, a lobbyist for the Texas Beverage
Association, which desperately wanted all its drinks available for sale to the
fastest-growing market in America: the food-stamp market, which has quadrupled
from $20 billion to $80 billion in the past 12 years. Companies such as
Coca-Cola, Kraft and Mars have spent more than $10 million in the past several
years lobbying Congress to keep their products available to those using food
stamps. “No clear standards exist for defining foods as good or bad,” the
lobbyist said” (3).

            This shows that because of the
original unhealthy actions of the food industry, they make buying foods, high
in fats and oils cheap and accessible. Leaving the healthier foods harder to
buy, so people that are not finically stable spend their food stamps on cheaper
foods that end up being their demise and causing health problems like high
cholesterol and diabetes. The food industry that create unhealthy foods, create
a problem for some people because they get trapped in a dilemma where the only
food they can get are low in nutrition and cause major problems regarding
health. In the article “How industrial foods impact your health” by the grace
communications foundation, the author says

 “Americans spend about ninety percent of their
food budget on processed foods, which, unlike whole foods, have been treated in
some way after being harvested or butchered. Almost these processed foods
contain additives, substances intended to change the food in some way before it
is sold to consumers. Bacteria are everywhere, including on the skin and in the
digestive system of humans. While bacteria are critical to normal bodily
functions, some types can cause illness. In humans, antibiotics are used to
treat health conditions caused by bacteria, including ear and skin infections,
food poisoning, pneumonia, meningitis and other serious illnesses. Antibiotics
are also used to treat or prevent infections that can complicate critical
medical procedures including surgery, cancer therapy, and transplants” (1)

            Foods are also genetically modified
Genetically engineered to be able to transmit different traits from animals or
plants to make a better product. The resulting organism is called transgenic or
a GMO (genetically modified organism). 70% of processed foods in American
supermarkets now contain genetically modified ingredients. 32.5 million cattle
were slaughtered to provide beef for US consumers. Cattle are injected with
hormones to make them grow faster, meaning higher profits for the food
production companies.

Everyday
the food production process harms and abuses animals to make more product to
improve profits, using methods like poor spacing, brutal treatment and additives
like steroids and antibiotics to keep their products in line. The result of
these foods affects the health of people by giving them unsanitary and
poisonous produce. Making cheap and mal nutritious foods available, sabotaging
many Americans daily. 

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