Factory Farming

8 August 2016

Many people might not be aware of what really happens in factory farms, or if they do, they tend to turn a blind eye towards it. Our society has a fairytale image of how factory farm animals live: Cows grazing the luscious green fields, hens nesting in a warm, spacious barn, and pigs rolling around in mud enjoying the sunny day. This vision of farm life is far from reality, especially today with demand for cheap, delicious meat rising. Today, billions of animals are born, confined, biologically manipulated, transported, and slaughtered for human consumption.

The majority of farm animals are not enjoying the ideal farm life, but instead, they are living in factory farms, also known as confined animals feeding operations (CAFOs) or intensive live-stock operations (ILOs) (Williams, Nancy). The purpose of factory farming is to produce some of the lowest prices in the world for meat, eggs, and dairy products, but is it really worth the cost? Not only is animal welfare at risk, but so is the environment and human health. Factory Farming should be banned in the United States, or even better, worldwide.

Factory Farming Essay Example

Today we live in a society where animals are held at higher respect than they were ever before. Dogs have become known as a “man’s best friend” and cats are just as welcome on your couch as your family is. It is considered morally wrong to abuse any animal to the extent that we have laws protecting the welfare of animals. However, the live-stock in factory farms do not live comfortable lives. Probably the only good thing about living in a factory farm is that the animals do not live very long. Astonishingly, farmed animals are specifically excluded from the Federal Animal Welfare Act and also from most state anti-cruelty laws.

In one case, during a Farm Sanctuary investigation of the ISE egg factory in early 2000 in the town of Broadway, New Jersey, two live hens were found deliberately dumped in a trash can full of dead birds (Bauston, Gene). In result of this, the ISE was charged with cruelty to animals and taken to court, but the judge ruled that the company was not guilty of animal cruelty (Bauston, Gene). To make matters worse, the ISE’s lawyer made a point that it was legally acceptable to discard live birds in the garbage and treat them as if they were manure (Bauston, Gene)!

What exactly makes your household pet much different from that innocent pig suffering in a factory? Realistically speaking, it is human nature to consume meat; we humans must eat meat to be exceptionally healthy, but there are indeed better ways of doing it. In egg factories, hens are forced to live in battery cages, confined to about seven or eight to a cage, not leaving them enough room to turn around or spread their wings (Williams, Nancy). Not to mention, the egg industry confines about 300 million hens in a battery cage facility at any given time (Wenz, Peter).

The battery cages used to house these hens already sound brutal, but to make matter worse, those hens are immobilized by their battery cages; their wings, legs, feet, and necks caught in the wires (Wenz, Peter). If you think hens have it bad, imagine what else might be happening to these animals. The pigs there spend most of their lives confined in narrow crates that enable most movement; the hard, slatted floors and the lack of exercise causes their feet and legs to cripple, and joint disorders; the constant rubbing up against the bars of their crates give them open sores, vulnerable to infection (Bauston, Gene).

Calves are forced to live in two feet wide crates and chained to the neck, disabling most movement which prevents exercise and limits muscle development, which keeps the calves’ meat tender (Bauston, Gene). This treatment of farm animals is not only inhumane, but hypocritical considering that we live in an animal-loving society. Aside from animal abuse, factory farming also causes devastating effects on health. These health risks concern humans as well as animals.

Approximately two-thirds of the 1,400 known pathogens to scientists are thought to have originated in animals (Sayre, Laura). The most common illnesses known to humans have actually came from the same animals we eat or have eaten in the past: tuberculosis and the common cold are thought to come to us from cattle, pertussis from pigs or sheep, leprosy from water buffalo, and influenza from ducks (Sayre, Laura). You may ask, “Well how does this have a connection with factory farming? ” The connection is actually quite simple.

Factory farms are breeding grounds for virulent disease, which spreads to the community through the food we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe, and even the people who work at these “farms” by coming in contact with them and their families (Sayre, Laura). The unsanitary and stressful conditions in factory farms are passing new diseases onto humans faster than ever before. Many of us have heard the term “you are what you eat”. Factory farms have shed a new light on this term. Ever wonder what the food you eat actually ate while it was still alive?

It might make one sick to their stomach when they realize what the FDA (The Food and Drug Administration) allows the factory farms to feed the animals we eventually eat. The FDA allows cattle blood, brains, spinal cords of cattle not older than 30 months of age, restaurant waste, and used poultry litter to serve as protein for factory animals (Pluhar, Evelyn). These factories are allowed to feed cattle other cattle, which can be forced cannibalism. Not only is feeding cattle spinal cords of other cattle morally wrong, but it is also dangerous because it is risking the spreading of mad cow disease.

The FDA justifies this by noting that cattle 30 months old or younger are less likely to harbor mad cow disease, but it is possible for younger cows to still be infected, and it is possible for the disease to be spread through what is still allowed (by the FDA) in cattle feed (Pluhar, Evelyn). Now, consider the psychological strains factory farming might cause. Our society has determined that animals have feelings as well as humans –assuming this based on the federal and city laws that exist protecting animal rights.

Animals are being chained, confined, neglected, and brutalized in industrialized factory farms; if this was happening to one of our dogs or cats the society would literally go ballistic. These imprisoned animals experience a wide range of psychological disorders as a result of their horrible living conditions (Bauston, Gene). Surprisingly, the animals are not the only ones who suffer psychologically. According to slaughterhouse expert Temple Grandin, it’s not unusual for the employees to become sadistic, literally being brutalized by what they must do hourly and daily (Pluhar, Gene).

The unhealthy, dirty, and depressing environment the employees work in must affect them greatly, eventually affecting not only their work environment but also their personal life. After soaking in all of this depressing information about factory farm life, on might wonder what it would be like without it. Eliminating factory farms would greatly benefit the environment, the life of farm animals, and the people. Many people do not realize that amount of greenhouse gases that factory farms put into the air they breathe.

Astonishingly, the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) documents that the livestock industry contributes to these emissions- a full 20% of the total- than all of transportation (Pluhar, Evelyn). Ridding of factory farms would eliminate a substantial about of greenhouse gases that pollute our atmosphere. Instead of factory farming, there are much better ways of producing our country’s need for meat and dairy products. Smaller, more numerous family farms that practice substantial agriculture and humanely raise the animals they market for food would impose much less of a burden on the environment (Pluhar, Evelyn).

Not only would these changes benefit our environment, but also our health. Animals raised in less stressful conditions would shed fewer pathogens; they would not be pumped with hormones and unnecessary doses of antibiotics; their feed would not be contaminated with cattle parts and poultry litter (Pluhar, Evelyn). Although, animals will still be getting slaughtered and eaten, but family farms with cleaner, more humane conditions would provide a better live for the animals, and they would suffer much less.

Factory farm animals live brutal, painful lives. The suffering of these animals is unnecessary and inhumane, and not to mention, a hypocritical act of our animal-loving society. Factory farming is also harmful to the people that live in this country, affected by the illnesses and pollution is passes. Everyone, humans and animals included, would live healthier lives without the harmful effects of farming factories. Our society needs to come together and rethink the way we treat animals because it eventually comes back to “bite our butts”.

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