I’ll say this upfront: There’s no 100% clean, safe, or pretty way to slaughter an animal. Fish, poultry, or livestock, it doesn’t matter. It’s an ugly, dirty, brutal job which requires proper training and a very strong stomach. Americans have a certain, often erroneous, perspective of the typical farm. They think of wide open spaces with lots of grass and a farmer in overalls who feeds them everyday. In organic farms which use traditional practices this is often the case. However, in the mega-food-farming industry we are forced to depend on, the practices used to process meat are anything but traditional.
Animals in factory farms are often packed in tiny cages so tightly they can’t even move, turn around, lie down, or even sleep. They often stand in their own feces twenty-four hours a day from the day they are born until they are finally slaughtered in a room with no windows or sunlight. Viruses, bacteria, and other diseases are common to the point where thousands of newborns die, especially in the hog/pig factories. Many are deprived of exercise so all their bodies’ energies goes to producing meat products (flesh, eggs, milk, reproducing) for consumption, often overproducing due to drugs that make them fatter faster and keep them alive. Many have had their genes tampered with to grow more mass than would be possible naturally. Most go insane, millions die of disease or poisons, lack of sunlight, or are overworked in breeding chambers.
Read more: http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/campaigns/factory_farming/?gclid=CNfZz5uRzb0CFafm7AodcjcA4Q
Given all this, the question you might be asking yourself is: “How does treatment of livestock effect to those consuming it?” A valid question. An animal afraid for its life has a lot of adrenaline it its system, which remains after the animal is slaughtered, fouling the meat. Milking cows need special diets too keep the milk from tasting bad. Imagine what an excess of other chemicals can do, other than putting us off our dinner. The quality of life of an animal which is diseased, drugged, crammed into a crate, starved, tortured, and then finally killed is abysmal at best, which automatically lowers the quality of the meat.
Read more: http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/factory-farming/#ixzz2xqgei0vf
Going through the entire list of side-effects would likely fill several books, so this will be a general picture of what ingesting some of the additives, drugs, and chemicals can do to the human body.
- Hormones used to increase muscle mass in livestock, poultry, and fish can lead to cancer.
- Antibiotics used to keep the animals healthy, or at least stave of health problems until they are slaughtered, can lead to the breeding of antibiotic-resistant bacteria harmful to humans and other animals.
- Genetic engineering designed to increase natural growth hormones in the livestock has a similar reaction to injecting them artificially, increasing the risk of cancer.
- drugs used to keep them calm, increase fertility, or prevent disease have adverse side effects on humans.
The hormones, antibiotics, drugs, and other chemicals they use to keep these poor creatures alive in the most inhospitable conditions imaginable are left in the meat when they die. They don’t drain out with the blood, they don’t dissipate or break down, they remain in the food and are still there after it is processed, packaged, even after cooking they remain in the food and are later ingested by humans.
Read more: http://ecowatch.com/2013/11/19/factory-farming-bad-for-people-planet-economy/
Even worse, if at all possible by this point, is the impact these farms have on the environment. Normally, cow manure and other animal waste is composted and used as a fertilizer. Much of the waste produced by livestock in factory farms is liquified in giant pools and sold as fertilizer to factory farms dealing in crops like wheat, soybeans, and essential vegetables. This “fertilizer” often sits in these feces lagoons for days or even weeks, building up diseases and still containing the drugs and chemicals used on the animals themselves, along with waste-water from the facility itself. These pools are prone to leakage and often break and crack, if they are built correctly at all, poisoning the environment around them. And since they are open-air, the stench can be smelled for miles away.
Read more: http://www.nrdc.org/water/pollution/nspills.asp
And the question you’re probably asking is “How they allowed to get away with this?” As much as it pains me to say, it’s a combination of legal loopholes, lack of enforcement for existing laws, and not enough public awareness on the issue. Most people really don’t want to know where their food comes from, so long as it tastes good and fills their stomach. More conscientious citizens and organizations have won many lawsuits against some of the farms, forcing the government to take action, but winning a suit against a handful of farms doesn’t help much when there are tens of thousands out there, producing billions of pounds of product every year. Even with organics on the rise, it’s still a tough business to compete with. They can slash expenses and prices as fast as they slash…I’ll spare you the gory details, except to say that with a semi-automated process, small workforce with low wages, and the maximum amount of product for the given space, prices can be cut as much as 20%. Don’t believe me? Just look at the difference between organic and factory meat prices sometime.
What can you do? Be more careful about who you buy from, purchase only organic food, cook more of your own rather than relying on preservative-laden packaged foods, and raise public awareness for these growing issues. Even if you don’t care about the animals at all, at least consider your own health. People really do need to be aware of where their food comes from and how it’s made. After all, factory farming practices, while not as bad, are comparable to Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle.