Factory Farming As A Low-cost Way Of Producing Animal Products For Human Consumption

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Factory farming continues to grow around the world as a low-cost way of producing animal products for human consumption. However, many of the practices associated with intensive animal farming have been criticized by public health professionals and animal welfare advocates.

The factory farms are known for the cramping of many animals all in one room. Which may be unsafe for animals, some animals can even die in these conditions due to suffocation. These animals aren’t living the life they should be living by simply just living in their nature and eating the food they want. “They rarely graze on grass, and on the biggest California farms, cows never graze but are fed highly concentrated feed doctored with antibiotics aimed at staving off diseases (brought about partly by horrendous living conditions)” (Stathopoulos, 2010). There isn’t any kind of normality by not having the animals in these farms live in their habitat. If these animals are in-line to get killed for meat for people. Animals should at least have some type of freedom because these animals go through stress like humans.

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We can infer that factory animals go through so much stress it’s certainly not healthy for them. It is not only healthy for them but for the meat consumers as well. “Germany has banned cages and crates for all farm animals. In Germany, farmers are required to raise hens in large barnlike aviaries, to allow other animals to move around with some degree of freedom, and to have a straw or grass bedding, rather than sleeping on concrete floors surrounded by metal cages” (Wolfson and Sullivan, 2004). The United States has yet passed any sort of law which makes animals feel like in their natural habitat. When Animals are raised in a different habitat than in a crowded condition, it will certainly noticeable. Due to the label, most companies will put it. For example, the label would contain “certified humane” which is when the standards of raising animals in the U.S. are followed by the company. And another label which can be found on the meat in supermarkets is “free-range”. The free-range is when the animal was kept in natural conditions. The most common use of “free-range” is the chicken (poultry). (Wolfson and Sullivan, 2004) Therefore we can infer this is animal cruelty. Understanding that animals die a day in and day out due to the living conditions. In these farms, animals are treated without any remorse, not caring whether or not animals have feelings.

Factory farming involves raising livestock in densely populated environments often called ‘concentrated animal feeding operations’.Common practices include packing pregnant pigs into gestation crates so small they cannot turn around, placing egg-laying hens in cages stacked on top of one another in massive enclosed buildings and raising cows on feedlots rather than the grass pastures many of us associate with ruminants. Because of the stress-induced by these conditions, including the constant frustration of their natural instincts, many animals develop compromised immune systems, and without a steady course of antibiotics, many more would become sick and die of bacterial infections. Thus, antibiotics are often used to compensate for con- the conditions that would otherwise make it impossible to raise animals. “Widespread antibiotic use is breeding ‘super pathogens’ – strains of drug-resistant bacteria.89 Doctors in some countries appease patients with unnecessary prescriptions. Pharmacists in some countries dispense drugs with no prescription. Livestock is regularly given antibiotics”(Nierenberg, 2003).

The practices that comprise factory farming evolved as a result of competition between firms to produce commodities mainly milk and meat at a minimal cost. Competition usually benefits consumers. Factory farming has lowered the price of animal protein, and this is a real boon for poor and middle-class consumers. “Industrial farming is a system of raising animals, using intensive ‘production line’ methods that maximize the amount of meat produced, while minimizing costs.” But there are at least three moral problems with factory farming, and none of them is factored into the price of the animal products they create. These include the spread of pathogenic viruses, the diffusion of antibiotic-resistant bacteria into our shared microbial environment and the immense cruelty suffered by animals in confined conditions.

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria that arise on factory farms can spread to human hosts in a number of ways. First, those who work on farms and handle animals or raw meat can pick up antibiotic-resistant bacteria from animals who have it, and transfer it to other people; second, some bacteria survive in meat even after it is cooked, and are transferred directly to those who eat it; third, animal waste from factory farms that contains antibiotic-resistant bacteria is often used to fertilize crops, and some of these bacteria infect people who either work with crops or consume them; and finally, as bacteria do not respect physical or biological borders, some are transferred to animals and streams around factory farms.

Many animal farms located near streams which also exposes the living species in these streams. Think about where the manure is going. “A fundamental concern for industrial style livestock farming is that large numbers of animals are often kept in a small area, leading to problems of waste disposal as well as disease potential.” (Stathopoulos, 2010)There have been many concerns about how many factories would do with the waste of animals in the factories. In most cases, while investigating these factory farms there has been video footage that showed factories dumping some manure into these streams or even manure being dragged into the stream when it rains. “Runoff of chicken and hog waste from factory farms in Maryland and North Carolina is believed to have contributed to outbreaks of Pfiesteria piscicida, killing millions of fish and causing skin irritation, short-term memory loss, and other cognitive problems in local people”(Stathopoulos, 2010).

The streams carry freshwater which also in today’s society we are going through some scarcity of freshwater because of global warming. “Agriculture uses more freshwater than any other human activity, with nearly a third required for livestock, so meat production in water-stressed areas is a major competitor with other uses of water, including that required to maintain natural ecosystems”(Godfray, H. C. J., Aveyard, P., Garnett, T., Hall, J. W., Key, T. J., Lorimer, J., … & Jebb, S. A.(2018). Sincerely we are just simply killing ourselves, or should I say killing the future of future generations. It is unbearable on how people do this just to earn a couple of bucks.

As a world, we are using a vast amount of water for irrigation “Pouring on huge amounts of water from underground aquifers, essentially great underground lakes”(Sernau 2010). By these irrigation systems, water is being used to factories which can simply dry up the soil that can cause a draught and make the land under fertile. Animal factories are also polluting our freshwater and every living creature in these waters. Farming American style has certainly reduced our natural resources. “As the world’s best fishing grounds have been depleted, there is a new interest in fish farming in both Asia and North America” (Sernau 2010). The mass production of factoring farming is one major that is causing this to happen. There are other alternatives in which as a world we may be adjusting to stop eating these contaminated fish that can harm our lives. The contaminated fish can absorb contaminants such as PCBs (which is a chemical that affects skin conditions), PBDEs, dioxins, and chlorinated pesticides from water, sediments, and the food they eat. From the toxins stated above as they can cause “thyroid hormone disruption, permanent learning and memory impairment, behavioral changes, hearing deficits, delayed puberty onset, decreased sperm count, fetal malformations and, possibly, cancer”(Lai, Liu, Guo, Guo, Yu, Hsu, Rogan, 2002).

These factories aren’t only known for providing food for the people, but at the same time, it is harming its people around it. Not only environmentally but also physically. Workers are often exposing their health from sickness to work in these factory farms. “Factory farm workers are constantly exposed to a variety of harmful gases and particulate matter and also suffer from repetitive stress injuries”(Michigan, 2006). Understanding the working conditions in these factories, we can infer that this is not a job that many will take. This is a job someone who doesn’t or may have no other job to do, for example, an immigrant. Immigrants are known to be hard workers while not getting paid well, but because they don’t have many opportunities. “It’s not high pay and there’s little protection, but they do it because it’s better than nothing”(Katz 2010). There’s always been a debate on how immigrants are treated and the kind of jobs they take because of how others may view them. Many immigrants who work in these conditions are also treated poorly but the illegal immigrants are always the ones treated the worst “Many meatpacking workers in the United States are illegal immigrants who risk deportation if they report their injuries.” (Nierenberg, 2003).

Everything about the factory family is unnatural, but that may be the only way to sustain food for people. Because the population is so high that this is the fastest way to produce food for humans. And the population will just keep on increasing. “The next few decades are likely to see between two and three billion more people on this planet, the vast majority of whom will be citizens of least developed countries”(Lutz W& Samir KC, 2010). So as a nation, people should look for alternatives. Alternatives such as becoming vegan or just simply eating less meat should be taken into consideration for one’s health as well as preserving the environment. Another alternative may be purchasing meat from local farms. By purchasing meat from small, local farms, you can know more about how it gets to your table. Certainly knowing where the meat is coming from and what was fed to the animal that you’re about to eat, it should be a good feeling.

There are so many hormones being injected into the factory animals that as consumers we ingest them as well. Because simply it’s just healthier and a better alternative to actually but meat from nearby farms. “Researchers have found that some of these hormones are endocrine disruptors and can influence the reproductive systems of wildlife and humans”( Nierenberg, 2003). Endocrine disruptors chemical “Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are a large and increasing group of diversely natural compounds or synthetic chemicals present in the environment that include persistent halogenated pollutants”(Latini, Knipp, Mantovani, Marcovecchio, Chiarelli, Soder, 2010). And Endocrine disruptors are linked to diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and Asthma. But other things that can happen if exposed to the endocrine disruptors are early puberty, changes in developing fetus, disturbance to the nervous and immune system. It is inevitable how relatable this is in today’s society. Anyone can witness with their own eyes on endocrine disruptors. One factor which can be witnessed with one’s eyes is how early teenagers are going through puberty now. Puberty is when a male or female can go from a non-reproductive to reproductive phase. “characterized by rapid physiological changes such as growth spurt and maturation of the gonads and the brain. It entails the individual’s transition period from a non-reproductive to reproductive state”. (Schoeters, Den Hond, Dhooge, Van Larebeke, Leijs, 2008).

But normally these types of endocrine disruptors are mostly found in dairy. Because of how fast these hormones can increase milk production. “Industrially reared farm animals often receive growth hormones in their diet in order to reach slaughter weight as fast as possible.”(Nierenberg, 2003). Obviously, if these hormones can affect and cause all these diseases to humans in all these why drink it? Cow milk has always been promoted as the best source of calcium by doctors. After a baby reaches two years old a doctor may tell a mother of an infant that he can start consuming milk but without knowing if the infant is allergic to milk. But in reality, “Approximately 75% of the world’s population loses this ability at some point, while others can digest lactose into adulthood.” (Mattar, de Campos Mazo, Carrilho, (2012). Something is definitely not normal if more than of the population can’t digest dairy. There have also been many cases in which children are rejecting the dairy they are ingesting and simply having allergic reactions to it. This is something that as people we need to start noticing because sometimes people don’t listen to their bodies and think that there is nothing wrong even though there is something wrong.

We are what we eat. For example, if people are consuming this meat and dairy with all these hormones. It is going to keep on getting worse because overtime these animals are going to become immune to these types of vaccines and therefore more and more hormones are going to be injected. So it’s time for people to wake up and actually look for alternatives. Alternatives such as becoming vegetarian or vegan. Being vegetarian is the practice of not eating meat and simply practice a different diet, such as practicing a plant-based diet. And becoming vegan is the practice of a diet that excludes meat, eggs, dairy products, and anything which has to do with any type of animal in the diet. These are the type of alternatives that will simply be a healthier lifestyle. “Health concerns are also the major reason motivating individuals who are ‘partial vegetarians’, who choose not to eat red meat, limit their consumption of flesh to fish, or select only organic products” (Bedford and Barr, 2005). Of course, it is going to be difficult for many people because sincerely meat and dairy it’s something that may have been in someone’s diet their entire life. On the other hand, when it comes to dairy, there are alternatives such as soy and almond milk, and vegan cheese.

In conclusion, there is a way around everything in life. And in this case, we should take action on these factors factory farming and the diets. Because these factors affect everyone day in and day out, we are witnessing all the effects of these types of factors, such as factory farming affecting our environment with global warming, hormones affecting the health of many people, the cruelty of animals, abuse of the workers from these factories, and the overall alternatives that there are to be healthy.  


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