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Factory Farming

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Rachel Miles

on 27 April 2012

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Transcript of Factory Farming

Factory Farming The start of factory farming After World War II, increasing amounts of people were moving toward jobs in urban areas instead or rural areas. This left fewer people avilable to farm land when prices of farm land were increasing due to urban centers. Farmers began to rely on machinery to do jobs that humans once used to do, such as feeding, cleaning, milking and collecting eggs. "Animal agriculture operations became capital-intensive instead of labor-intensive. " (Rollin, 212)
Since these produciton units are so expensive, animals are crowded together because they want to get in as many as possible. Up to 100,000 laying hens could be kept in one building at a time. Huge open sheds were used to keep broiler chickens at a density of two birds per square foot. Beef cattle were now kept in feedlots instead of grazing in open range land. Hogs were commonly kept in buildings that held 500 to 1000. Hidden Costs Some workers must wear respirators because there is so much dust and ammonia in the air at the chicken barns. Some animals may develop metabolic diseases due to the growth supplements they are fed. Leg, foot and joint problems are common in chickens because of the unnatural floor surfaces. "Production" diseases Chronic signs of long term and short term stress Debeak chickens to prevent cannibalism caused by lack of space. Pigs are tail-docked to prevent tail biting which is due to stress Debeaking and tail-docking are done without anesthesia. Social costs Small family farmers can not compete with the large amount of capital of large farming corporations. Environmental problems such as water and energy consumption and waste disposal. Soil erosion due to land no longer used for the pasturing of animals. Human health problems due to drug residues in animal products. Resistant pathogens due to widespread use of antibiotics. Salmonella and Campylobacter from chickens, turkeys, and eggs. "In the modern version of an egg barn, hordes of hens live with computer-controlled air circulation, lighting and feeding, their droppings whisked away by conveyor belt for recycling as fertilizer. As the hens jostle one another, their eggs roll onto a belt to be washed, graded and packed without ever being touched by human hands." (Eckholm, 18) Bar-biting and loss of bone density in confined animals. "...egg prices would rise by 25 percent if all eggs were produced by uncaged hens, putting stress on consumers and school lunch programs." (Eckholm, 18) Reform "The breakthrough 2008 law said that animals could be confined only in ways that allowed them 'to lie down, stand up, fully extend their limbs and turn around freely.'" (Eckholm, 18) "The American Veal Associtaion, under pressure from consumers, agreed in 2007 to phase out the close confinement of calves by 2017" (Eckholm, 18). Locavore Perspective "To assume that humans are inevitably superior to other species simply by virtue of other species membership is an injustice which Singer terms speciesism, an injustice parallel to racism and sexism" ( Causey, 56). Environmental Perspective Animal Rights Perspective They want to protect the ecosystem but only to protect individual animals; they do not favor an individual of endangered species over an individual from a common species. Believe humans should treat animals as beings with lives and interests equal to those of humans. Environmental problems caused by factory farming Decreased biodiversity through habitat loss. Ecosystem damage and aquifer depletion. Heavy metal contamination of soil and soil erosion. Greenhouse gas production. Contaminated wetlands and groundwater due to leaking manure "lagoons." Hundreds of manure spills have killed millions of fish in the United States. Supporters of Factory Farming Factory farms produce a large amount of food at a cheaper price. Small farm tchniques would not be able to handle the predicted growth of the population. Factory farms have the ability to efficiently produce and distribute huge quantities of food. These farms also prodive employment to the nearby communities. Animals are injected with hormones to speed their growth. Some animals are given feed containing animal byproducts. "'We have found the most efficient way to meet consumer demand for a high-quality, realtively inexpensive product,' said Dave Warner, spokesman for the National Pork Producers Council in Washington, D.C." (Eng, 1). The use of antibiotics is causing a rise in dangerous antibiotic-resistant infections. The animal excrement creates toxic fumes even when it's in storage. On small farms, the animal waste is used to fertilize crops but these factory farms create too much waste for it to be beneficial. Agriculture is the single biggest source of pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. They hire independent family farms as contractors to produce uniform animals under their rules and specifications. This gives these hired farmers a steady income. The conditions at factory farms protect animals from harsh weather conditions and keep them protected from predators. It is also easier to feed and medicate the animals in the conditions provided. Their methods are geared toward making use of economies of scale to produce the hightest output at the lowest cost "Calves are confined in small cages known as 'veal crates' where, for their entire lives, they're chained by the neck to prevent them from stretching, lying down comfortably, or turning around, thereby inhibiting muscular development and making their meat more tender" (Parker). The European Union has banned gestation crates in some countries and will be banned by the entire union in 2013. "The European Union...prohibits veal crates and requires that calves be given enough room to turn around and a diet containing sufficient iron and fiber" (Animal Legal Defense Fund). A locavore is someone who resists the new models of both plant and animal agriculture. They avoid the diseases and illnesses that people get from factory farmed animals because they are not exposed to the unnatural diets and health hazards of these animals. Locavore's concerns Shipping across the country or the globe uses up too much energy. With issues like climate change and global warming, we should be focusing more on reducing our carbon footprint Factory farming waste is causing extreme amounts of pollution. "Annually, CAFOs in the United States produce six times as much urine and feces as all humans in the entire world" (Kathy, 94). "In eastern North Carolina, the hog waste lagoons are so toxic, residents within 30 miles are often forced to abandon their homes: local wildlife dies off, the smell is unbearable, the water is undrinkable, their land becomes worthless, and the humans become refugees" (Kathy, 94). Locavores believe that eating locally can turn this problem around. The believe small farms enhance the look, feel, and sustainability of communities. The believe keeping our resources in our own area means we all benefit. Many locavores are committed to improving the world for animals. Some believe that local farms are the best way to save heritage breed animals from extinction.
" The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations estimates that fifty years ago, there were more than 7,600 different breeds of farm animals used for meat and dairy; today that number stands at fewer than 20" (Kathy, 95).
Local farms are changing this by bringing back species that are on the brink of extinction since they offer more room and healthier lifestyle. "The shift that I call for in this book asks that sacrifice go both ways: that humans make sacrifices the nurture the joy and well-being of other animals because it's wonderful to share the earth with them and not just because they taste better" (Kathy, 101). America does not need to switch to full on veganism but it should switch to having animals that are not constantly filled with unnatural hormones, antibiotics and many other types of drugs. "[Factory farms] are the mechanized equivalent for animals of the Ford assembly line. Uniformity, automated care, and cheap ingredients are the norm" (Kathy, 91-92). This video shows multiple types of cruelty that these animals are forced to go through. It shows the veals that are chained in "veal crates" and also shows the chickens crowded into their cages. it also shows the gestations crates which are so small that they keep hogs from being able to move around during the period while they are pregnant. These animals are forced to live in the worst conditions possible. They are completely inhumane and should be put to an end immediately. Some animals live their entire lives without seeing sunshine while others are genetically engineered to grow so fast and become so large that they feet and legs are not able to hold them up and therefore break. Animals do not deserve the same rights as humans because they are not humans. Therefore, the conditions they are put under in factory farms are suitable to them. Many people support this view because animals are unable to speak for themselves and therefore humans see them as insuperior to us. With the rate at which factory farms are increasing and small, family farms are decreasing, pollution form these factories is going to become greater than it ever has before. The amount of waste is going to increase and the effect it has on the water supply and air is going to contribute even more to our ever present problem of global warming and climate change. Works Cited Causey, Ann S. "Animal Rights." Environmental Encyclopedia. Ed. Marci Bortman, Peter Brimblecombe, and Mary Ann Cunningham. 3rd ed. Vol. 1. Detroit: Gale, 2003. 55-57. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 24 Feb. 2012. Eckholm, Erik. “Farmers and Activists Move Toward a Truce on Animals’ Close Quarters.” The New York Times. 12 Aug. 2010: 18. LexisNexis. Web. 25 Feb. 2012. “Editorial Cartoon.” 4 Aug. 2008. The Onion. Web. 18 Feb. 2012. Eng, Monica. “The Cost of Cheap Meat: Critics of Farm Factories Say We Pay a High Price for Low-Cost Food.” Chicago Tribune. 24 Sept. 2010: 1-4. Web. 20 Feb. 2012. “Farmed Animals and the Law.” Animal Legal Defense Fund. N.p. N.d. Web. 20 Feb. 2012. Fellenz, Marc R. "Animal Rights." Encyclopedia of Science, Technology, and Ethics. Ed. Carl Mitcham. Vol. 1. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2005. 74-77. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 24 Feb. 2012. Jesselt. "Factory Farming." YouTube. YouTube, 29 Dec. 2006. Web. 26 Feb. 2012. Parker, Larry. “Factory Farming Pros and Cons.” Street Directory. EditorialToday, n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2012. Rollin, Bernard E. "Animal Welfare and Rights: VI. Animals in Agriculture and Factory Farming." Encyclopedia of Bioethics. Ed. Stephen G. Post. 3rd ed. Vol. 1. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2004. 212-215. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 24 Feb. 2012. Rudy, Kathy. Loving Animals: Toward a New Animal Advocacy. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011. Print.
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