Negative Factory Farming Essay Sample
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Negative Factory Farming Essay Sample
Our society is bombarded with images of happy animals living on farms where the cows graze in lush green fields and the chickens have spacious coops. This illustration of free-roaming animals living their days in sunny fields is miles away from the reality. A majority of animals raised for food, live miserable lives in intensive confinement in dark, overcrowded facilities, commonly called factory farms. Factory farming has led to institutionalized animal cruelty, massive environmental destruction, as well as animal and human health risks which can be reduced by natural, free-range farming. According to an article in The Real Truth, factory farms “produce much more food at cheaper prices than smaller farms” (Farrel).
Some would argue it is an efficient way to raise animals for food, makes the product easier for the consumer to afford, and “ensure(s) a proper and stable food supply for the growing population while at the same time decreasing the amount of land needed” (Intensive Farming). These arguments compromise the quality of the food and the well-being of the animals. When the “farmers” are pressured to reach a productivity goal by their employer, what is fed to the animals and how they are being treated is no longer a main priority. The animals are now treated inhumanely and injected with steroids for the sake of production. Should consumers have to compromise the quality of their food and risk their health to be able to afford it?
Raising animals on free-range farms or organic farms is efficient and cost effective while being kinder to the animals and the environment. Allowing animals to roam freely and not be confined in any way benefits the consumer as well as the animal. The animals are able to live naturally and do things based on instincts instead of being trapped indoors with little to no room to move. The result is a product of higher quality.
Imagine being locked in a cage so small there isn’t room to turn around, being hung upside down and skinned alive, de-beaked and electrocuted. This only begins to describe the abuse animals in factory farms face every day. Chickens are “typically kept in semi-darkness, and the ends of their sensitive beaks are cut off with hot blades without any painkillers” (PETA Media…) to prevent stress-induced behaviors caused by extreme confinement. When they are crammed into tiny wire cages, they don’t have enough room to even spread one of their wings. When cattle are “still very young, they are burned with hot irons, their testicles are ripped out of their scrotums, and their horns are cut or burned off—all without painkillers” (GoVeg.com). The calves raised for veal are separated from their mothers very shortly after birth and “are deliberately and permanently squashed so that muscle growth is inhibited and the flesh is tender” (Factory Farming Database).
Piglets have their “testicles cut out of their scrotums, their tails cut off, many of their teeth clipped in half, and their ears mutilated, all without any pain relief. Terrified and in extreme pain, the piglets are often put alone into tiny metal wire cages which are stacked on top of each other, and urine and excrement constantly fall on the piglets in the lower cages” (GoVeg.com). All while this abuse in taking place the animals are conscious and can feel pain. Even if people chose to continue eating meat, animals should not have to suffer the way they do and be treated inhumanely just for the purpose of consumption and human pleasure. Factory farmed animals have no federal legal protection from horrifying abuses that would otherwise be illegal if they were practiced on dogs or cats: neglect, mutilations, crippling, transport through all weather extremes, and inhumane slaughter. Nevertheless, farmed animals are no less sensitive or capable of feeling pain than dogs or cats, which we cherish as companions. Animals, like humans, are healthiest when they eat certain foods; “Cows, have stomachs that are designed to digest grass.
Pigs can digest grass, corn, grains, soy and other plants. Chickens and turkeys can eat plants as well as bugs and worms found on the pasture.” (Feed). When these animals are given industrial feed, they become less healthy as does the meat and other products from the animal. Animals raised on free-range farms are not subjected to the high levels of stress found on factory farms. They are well-treated and are able to live much more naturally. This makes their meat tender, more flavorful and less likely to carry bacteria. Because factory farms are profit-driven, the cheapest feed available is used to fatten up the animals. The operators pay little to no attention as to what goes into the feed as long as it does its job, despite what is best for animal health and the health of the humans who eat their products. Some of the harmful products that are found in animal feed used in factory farms are: “meat from animals of other or the same species, meat from diseased animals, bits of feathers, hair, skin, hooves, blood, manure and other animal waste, plastics, antibiotics and unhealthy amounts of grain” (Feed).
In general, grain-fed meat, eggs and dairy are lower in omega-3 fatty acids which is a good fat consumed by humans. It helps lower triglycerides, act as an anticoagulant to prevent blood from clotting and may help lower high blood pressure. Without the omega-3, the meat is less healthy than if the animal were able to graze naturally on a farm. Because of the risks the animals are exposed to, humans may become at-risk when eating the food. Animal food products cause “millions of Americans [to be] infected, and thousands [to] die every year.” (Factory Farming). Despite repeated warnings from people who have been affected, the USDA’s meat inspection system continues to falter, and consumers are told to “expect” animal products to be tainted. The USDA should go to any extent necessary to ensure the production of safe meats and animal products. Granted, it would not be possible to prevent all tainted products from being distributed, but by reducing the amount of overcrowding and abuse in factory farms, it would be much more manageable. In addition, the meat, poultry, dairy and egg industries use drugs, hormones, and other chemicals to maximize production. When animals begin to become immune to such drugs, workers must increase the dosage.
As a result, “the overuse of antibiotics in factory farming has the potential to cause… human suffering and deaths” (Factory Farming). Many diseases have been born due to factory farms. When the rate of production goes up, so does the level of contamination. The percentage of chickens “contaminated with Salmonella in 2005 was almost double that of the same testing period in 2000” (Feed). Multiple diseases such as bird flu, swine flu, avian flu, mad cow disease and many more are spread rapidly because animals are kept in confined, crowded, filthy spaces; “diseases that wouldn’t affect more than an animal or two on pastures spread like wildfire in a factory farm” (Here’s the Beef…). If there were less factory farms and more family, free-range farms, animals would have more room to live resulting in less antibiotics needed to kill bacteria and diseases and less food-borne illnesses. Not only is the health of animals and humans in jeopardy with the existence of factory farms but Mother Nature is as well. The most serious environmental problems of our time are directly related to factory farming.
Global warming, overexploited natural resources, water, air and land pollution are some of these problems. According to a 2006 United Nations report “the meat industry produces more greenhouse gases than all the SUVs, cars, trucks, planes, and ships in the world combined” (GoVeg.com). If people cut back on the amount of meat eaten, less greenhouse gasses would be created and pollution would be reduced drastically. Stored for long periods of time in giant tanks or lagoons, animal waste decomposes and pollutes the air with hundreds of different gases. The waste storage containers are often near animal confinement facilities. The animals and people who work with them are continually exposed to harmful gases. Gasses such as “hydrogen sulfide, methane, ammonia, and carbon dioxide are extremely hazardous and are produced by decomposing manure” (Feed). With no place to put the animal waste, letting it collect in large containers causes great damage.
If more animals were raised on free-range farms, there would be less manure and the farmers would be able to use it to fertilize the land instead of letting it sit in a pile to pollute the air, water and land around it. Animal waste can spill and leak into the surrounding groundwater and streams causing serious problems; “the EPA reports that chicken, hog, and cattle excrement have polluted 35,000 miles of rivers in 22 states and contaminated groundwater in 17 states” (GoVeg.com). Large-scale farming has “significantly added to the damage to the ozone layer, as cows and their manure produce vast quantities of methane” (Factory Farming Database).
Factory farming is successfully ending the practice of healthy, traditional farming methods and the whole rural way of life is slowly and surely being destroyed. The countryside as we know it is no longer animals grazing freely but enormous factories full of imprisoned animals fed on imported feed. Health risks to humans are greatly magnified by factory farming, with epidemics spreading quickly between overcrowded animals which develop antibiotic resistance from medicated feed. These problems can be fixed by doing away with factory farming and returning to the natural, safe, and healthy ways of free-range farming.