The Real Price of Farm Factory Animals







“Dollar” menu hamburgers and dozens of cooking rotisserie chickens in the supermarket are cheaper and quicker than cooking at home. This has made a demand for farm factories and slaughterhouses. Worldwide, about 60 billion farm animal’s are now reared for food consumption each year.  But should we be eating these animals? As economical as it can be, the price we pay for farm factory animals is much high than you think.

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According to the World Society for the Protection of Animals, factory farming is not only cruel to the factory animals that reside there, there are serious consequences to human health and the world we live in.

Factory farming is a mass manufacturing operation that is home to animals raised for human consumption. These animals include chickens, cows, pigs, and turkeys.  Most of these animals are engineered to be twice the size then they were 40 years ago. They get this big in half the time.  Their lives are now a race to death. They do this thanks to injections of artificial growth and sex hormones. This means less cows needed to produce more milk, and bigger animals for bigger flesh in shorter times. Although the FDA and the USDA claim these hormones are safe, there is a growing concern that hormonal residues in our meat and milk are harmful to our health, along with the damage it does when it also ends up in our waterways and soils.

These animals are being fed corn and unnatural amounts of hormones. Their “diets” have caused factory farm animal to develop health issues requiring steady regimens of antibiotics. The WSPA has reported the overuse of these medications has made the factory farmers the number one consumer of these drugs. A human consequence of this has been realized. Consumers of these animals get the residues of these antibiotics and hormones. When consumers seek treatment for illness, the ineffectiveness of the antibiotics due to resistance is alarming.

Antibiotics are needed for their survival as a result of the appalling conditions they live in. The overcrowding of animals can wipe out herds of livestock on factory farms if infections and disease starts. Most hens and sows are restrained to cages and stalls their entire existence. The stalls are so narrow they cannot even turn around. A caged hen will never stretch her wings, go outside, or peck the ground. A third of her beak will be removed as to not peck at the other hen’s surrounding her, to reduce feather pecking, and to avoid cannibalism, which is seen among stressed birds. Many factory farms perform tail mutilations and teeth clipping, for similar reasons, without anesthesia. The overcrowding makes an inactive animal, which makes the animals bones extremely brittle, and their muscles will begin developing atrophy, including the heart muscle. Poor air quality from overcrowding causes breathing and lung difficulties.

In addition to the animal cruelty, this overcrowding effects our environment as well. The huge amounts of manure produced by farm factories can seep into human water supplies. The decomposing manure releases chemicals in the air we breathe. People living near farm factories have reported breathing problems, skin issues, and depression. Hog, chicken and cattle waste has contaminated 35,000 miles of rivers in 2 states and contaminated groundwater in 17 states.

Here is something you probably never imagined was happening due to factory farming….climate issues and global warming. How is that? Methane gas from manure and animal farts! Methane is 21 more times more harmful to the atmosphere than CO2! According to Kris Carr’s book “Crazy Sexy Diet”, in 2008 a doctor on the chair for the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change made a shocking claim that reducing meat consumption was the most immediate way to take action in global warming. He suggested to start once a week, gradually adding more days. By 2010, the UN urge a movement towards a vegan diet to help save the world from hunger, fuel issues, environmental issues and climate changes,air pollution, water pollution and loss of biodiversity. The report that followed stated the livestock industry is a greater contributor to global warming than the transportation industry.

It is our responsibility as consumers, to find an alternative to factory farmed animals for food consumption.  We have the option to purchase our meats from alternative, non-factory and / or high “animal welfare” farms. These owners follow sustainable methods of raising animals in better conditions. We all profit from these farms. These farms keep a lower number of animals. They produce enough meat and dairy for local suppliers and contribute to local job growth. These farms need fewer amounts of grain feed, fuel, and water. This goes a long way in reducing environmental loss. These farms keep animal living in a setting close to their natural one. Animal welfare farms grind at a slower pace, giving animals a chance to exercise and have more room to roam. These animals have normal animal behaviors thwarting teeth clipping and beak breaking.

Unfortunately, purchasing meats from these alternative farms can be two to three times more expensive than the farming factories flesh. Smaller farms have yet to receive any subsidies. Your tax dollars play a huge role in keeping meat cheap…not just for the factory farmers, but for the corn farmers as well. The corn cheaply fattens up the factory farm animals! On the positive note, if you cut down on meat consumption in general, you will have the extra money to buy organic meats, and a wide variety of organic diary, fruits and vegetables also.

If cutting out meats is a new way of eating for you and your family, try what the UN doctor suggested. Start small. John Hopkins School of Public Health runs a campaign titled “Meatless Mondays”. Go check out their website for recipes, tips and encouragement. When adding vegetables and fruits, keep in mind that those items have also been genetically modified to be available year round in your supermarkets. The tip on this one is to eat vegetables that are seasonal to your area, shop in your local farmers market or in your supermarkets organic sections.

Speaking of organic, be a wise consumer. Because your meats and / or dairy products state “organic”  “free range” or “all natural” does not mean the animals were treated with respect. If animal cruelty hits a nerve, avoid animal products altogether or look for products that have a certification labels indicating ‘Humane raised and handled”.

So the next time you pull up to the nearest drive thru to “have it your way”….remember the industry behind the meal in your bag .The price tag is much bigger than you think.


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