If those who consume mass meat products could witness either a) the conditions 95% of the animals in the factory farm industry have to endure, or b) the loss that is accruing in humanity’s inner life due to this animal abuse – the industry would grind to a halt overnight. Surely the human race cannot be as diabolical as its relationship with the animal kingdom suggests.
– the Earth Vision project, 2008
Recently, although an omnivore in my own diet, and given to eating some meat (organically and humanely raised), I was ready to give up on humanity, a species that was continuing to allow acute brutality and suffering to visit animals (could this be the same humanity that initiated the SPCA? Or was that a mere ruse toward humane treatment of non-human species?).
However, I was not aware, at the time, of certain developments that gave cause for hope. For example, some European countries are slated to ban the harshest aspects of factory farming. And speculation suggests that the entire European Union will go on board in the (hopefully) near future. This development, in turn, will generate pressure upon North America to eventually follow suit.
And on this continent, the state of California has recently put forward a proposition to oppose the worst aspects of factory farming.
The real picture
The crowded conditions of factory farming require the use of increasing dosages of antibiotics and pesticides to maintain operations.
These chemical applications (through which the pharmaceutical industry is reaping obscene profits), it turns out, amount to the cultivation of superbugs that will almost certainly assail humanity in devastating ways.
The degradation of cattle is linked to the rise in Alzheimer’s disease, as the human brain gives way to a spongiform condition. Contrary to popular opinion, cows are still being forced to be cannibalistic, as they are fed blood, bone meal, and other miscellaneous aspects of other cows (no brain matter, but most everything else). And testing for Mad Cow currently involves only a tiny fraction of overall herds. Further, because Mad Cow can take ten years to manifest, it is estimated that thousands of infected cows per year are likely entering the system. If you are still eating beef, run like hell the other way!
(And see The Return of Bison and Wolf for an alternative.)
Environmentally, manure and wastes from combined animal operations account for three times as much waste as humans produce, wastes that commonly go untreated. This waste is contributing to emissions that are rapidly warming the planet and creating water pollution and “dead zones” nationwide.
The factory farm industry, and the wealthy and powerful agricultural and pharmaceutical lobbies, are at this moment fighting laws that would mandate the provision of information on toxic emissions.
Many North Americans and Europeans cite the cost of food as a reason to both avoid choosing organic food and to continue the barbarism against animals. In fact, the cost of food in North America is extremely low. Consider how in many Third world countries vast numbers of people are working all day just to feed themselves. That is truly expensive provision! In the developed countries, food – even if buying all organic and humanely raised food – is very inexpensive.
The factory farm issue is not at all a question of affordability. Rather, and quite remarkably, when we consider the economic impacts of environmental damage, human health impact (already big, but only the tip of the iceberg), socioeconomic impact, not to mention the weighty load of nasty karma diners-on-suffering-flesh are surely accruing. . . it’s becoming clear now that we cannot afford to continue factory farming.
Some of the ingredients in animal factory feed translate, ultimately, into what they are feeding you: excessive grain (not a natural diet for cattle – leads to liver and digestive imbalances and illnesses); shredded bits of plastic(!) in lieu of natural roughage; meat from the same species (cannibalizing effect, leads to BSE, avian bird flu, lots more to come); animal by-products (so-called “animal protein products” – rendered feathers, hair, skin, hooves, internal organs, beaks, bones; drugs and chemicals (needed due to over-crowding).
To access further resources on this issue visit the Earth Vision site.