I usually don’t post about my personal life or things that aren’t book related but this is a issue that I can’t not speak up about. This blog is my outlet and it reaches a lot of people so I feel like I have to do my duty and say something. Until two weeks ago I had no idea any of this was going on. So I want to give you guys some of the facts. I know that many of you will stop reading as soon as you see what this is about, if you have even made it this far because people don’t want to know. They want to live in this nice safe oblivion they have built up. With this cute idea but the reality is horrifying beyond your wildest dreams. So what is this about? It’s about where your food comes from. Factory Farms. Please keep reading. This is not just about animal welfare and all that. It’s about the state of our environment and the state of our health.
I want to break this into the three most important things factory farms are doing to us. They are killing the environment, they are feeding animals millions of pounds of antibiotics every year, causing bacteria to build up nice resistances(remember H1N1 aka Swine Flu?). They are treating animals as if they are already dead. Giving them horrible lives. If you can even call that a life.
Lets not start off on the wrong foot, I’m not against eating meat. I don’t have this pretty idea that everyone is going to decide to become vegetarian tomorrow and the problem will be solved. I’m against factory farming. I haven’t eaten meat in over a week but that was my choice. You don’t have to make them same choice. But please keep reading so that you can make an informed choice.
I would like to think that everyone around my age is concerned with Climate Change/Global Warming. We use reusable shopping bags. We worry about fuel efficient cars. We replace our light bulbs with energy efficient ones. We recycle. We do a lot of things to help our planet so that our children, grand children, great gran children will have a nice place to live. But most of us contribute to the number 1 cause of global warming every day. Twice a day. Three times? Probably even more. Do you know what the number 1 cause is? I didn’t. I thought it was cars/transportation. But nope! It’s animal agriculture. Here’s a fact: Animal agriculture makes a 40% greater contribution to global warming than all transportation in the world combined; it is the number one cause of climate change*. If every American would remove 1(just ONE)serving of meat from their diet every week it would be the equivalent of taking 5 MILLION cars off the road. How crazy is that? Why do we not hear about this? Why is it not all over the news? Because Factory Farming is a billion dollar industry. That’s why it’s not on your radar. The CEO’s couldn’t have that.
Are you still there? Are you still reading? Great! Now let’s talk about antibiotics. Most of us have taken them. I know every time I get a sinus infection I NEED some antibiotics. Animals on factory farms are raised in such horrible filthy conditions that they are feed a steady stream of antibiotics from the time that they can eat solid food until it’s time for slaughter. The buildings, cages, and pins these animals are kept in are breeding grounds for bacteria. This is making our antibiotics less and less effective. This is how swine flu started. Remember bird flu? That’s still around too. This is horrifying to me. Experts agree that there will be another pandemic they just can’t predict when. Chances are that it could start in a factory farm. Not only are these animals given antibiotics to prevent sickness because of their appalling conditions but they are given to make them grow. So that that chicken has a bigger breast and can make the company more money.
If you are still with me and I hope you are, now it’s time to talk about the big issue. The one no body wants to talk about or hear. The welfare of these animals. Sure, they are just going to die anyway. But don’t they deserve a decent life? Is that too much to ask? I think most of us still have this vague idea of what a farm looks like. There are tractors. Chicken coops. Cows way out in the distance. I still had that idea. Even though I pass chicken houses everyday. This is not what a farm looks like in this day and age. It’s not even close.
Here are some of the things that happen inside factory farms and slaughter houses: Egg laying hens are kept in cages the size of a piece of printer paper. Sometimes stacked 3 to 9 tall. In windowless buildings. The wire cuts their feet. They are only feed what they need to survive. Some go crazy. But that’s okay because they cut off their beaks so they can’t peak each other through the cages. It’s not much better for the chickens that will be slaughtered for meat. They are genetically engineered to grow so big so fast that some times their legs can’t even hold them. They are in excruciating pain from birth until death. Same with that turkey that is on your table every Thanksgiving. Turkeys can’t even survive outside. They can’t reproduce on their own anymore.
Pigs are as smart as 3 year olds. They can play video games! They are probably smarter than most dogs. If not all. They are treated the worst out of all the animals we eat. They are kept inside all their lives. They never even see the light of day until they are loaded on to the truck for slaughter. They grow faster than their bones. Some can’t walk. Pregnant pigs are kept in tiny cages that they can’t even stand up in of turn around. They live in their own filth. Some go through slaughter fully conscious.
Beef cows have it better than dairy cows. They get to graze in pastures. But when it comes to slaughter a decent amount of them are skinned and mutilated while fully conscious.
I’m done. I feel better. I really just wanted to get that out there so that the people I know in real life will know why I made this decision to not eat meat. And so the people that didn’t know these things can make a informed decision about your food. There are lots of choices out there. If you don’t want to stop eating meat, buy it from a family farm. Don’t support factory farming. Go to your farmers market this summer buy eggs there! Support your local farmers. It’s a dying or already dead business. You could cut back on how much you meat you eat in the first place! Just think before you eat!
If you want to know more, read the book Eating Animals by Johnathon Safran Foer. If you want a harsh in dept look watch this video. Just please don’t ignore this issue anymore. Tell your friends, tell your family. Tell the world what is really going on.
*All facts from Eating Animals by Johnathon Safran Foer