Animal Agriculture Industry: Factory Farming- Part 2
Factory Farming Facts and Statistics
- More than 80 percent of pigs have pneumonia (lung inflammation caused by bacterial or viral infection, in which the air sacs fill with pus) upon slaughter.
- Over 70 billion animals are killed in factory farms, worldwide, each year.
- 9 billion land animals are killed in factory farms in the United States, alone, each year; which equates to one million deaths every hour; 25 million deaths each day.
- Factory farms slaughter 99 percent of chickens; 97 percent of laying hens; 99 percent of turkeys; 95 percent of pigs; and 78 percent of cattle in the United States.
- Confined animals become unnaturally aggressive, so their beaks are cut off, tails removed, nails removed, teeth removed, often without anesthesia.
- Only female hens lay eggs; the male chicks are thrown into meat grinders while still alive, crushed or are thrown into plastic bags to suffocate.
- Chickens are thrown into boiling water while still alive.
- In the United States, 9 percent (850 million) animals die of stress and disease before they make it to the slaughterhouse.
- The World Health Organization (WHO) classifies processed meat as a carcinogen (which is a substance capable of causing cancer, like cigarettes); WHO classifieds meat as potentially carcinogenic.
- Worldwide, two of every three animals are raised and killed on a factory farm.
- Factory farms produce 67 percent of poultry; 50 percent of eggs and 42 percent of pork globally.
- The total number of livestock on the largest factory farms rose by 20 percent between 2002-2012.
- The number of dairy cows on factory farms doubled (120%) and the average-sized dairy factory farm increased by half (49%) between 1997-2012.
- A supermarket chicken today contains twice the amount of fat and contains one-third less protein than a chicken from 40 years ago.
- In the past 50 years, 90 percent of large fish populations have been exterminated
- The large amounts of feces and urine in factory farms cause animals to breathe in large amounts of dangerous pathogens and metals, including nitrate, heavy metals, nitrogen, phosphorus, and ammonia, which cause pneumonia in 65 percent of pigs.
- E. Coli causes 73,000 cases of infection and 61 deaths in the United States each year.
- WHO finds that the two most common human antibiotics are used in factory farms.
- Fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides (poison), in agricultural production, are often poorly regulated by the government, which allows corporations to treat crops and dispose of these chemicals without proper care; this increases the likelihood that the chemicals will seep into and poison the groundwater supply in rural communities near factory mega-farms that fail to dispose of waste and control their chemical runoff.
- Top five food retailers: Kroger, Albertson’s, Wal-Mart, Safeway, and Ahold USA account for 42 percent of retail food sales.
Animals raised and slaughtered on factory farms for human consumption lack the proper care, treatment, oversight, and regulation in comparison to a freely raised and wild-caught animal. The dark and disease-infested warehouses that contain these factory grown animals lack proper oxygen filtration and plumbing systems, as this creates a costly burden for factory farms that elect to cut corners and hide their cruel and unsanitary slaughtering practices from a government that chooses to plead ignorance and look the other way; so animals stand in their feces and urine 24 hours a day, which covers their hides and poisons the air they breathe before they are sent to the slaughterhouse, where they are poorly washed, if washed at all. The urine and feces of factory grown animals are often caked onto their hides, which makes it difficult to properly clean in slaughterhouses that must churn out thousands of animals a day.
Livestock on the largest factory farms produced 369 million tons of manure in 2012 alone, which is 13 times more than the entire U.S. population; yet animal feces and urine from factor farms lack proper disposal and government regulation to prevent against mishandling and unsanitary storage. Oftentimes, excess animal feces is stored in nearby cesspools (ponds of animal urine and shit), which leaks into and poisons the groundwater supply of nearby towns in rural America. Pig, chicken, cattle waste has polluted 35,000 miles of rivers in 22 states and contaminated groundwater in 17 states.
The Growth of Industrialized Factory Farming is due to:
- Massive corn and soybean subsidies (called commodity crops), paid for by taxpayers, which provide farmers with free money to purchase feed for livestock (aside from grass-fed, which wild animals typically consume). Livestock are not natural corn and soybean eaters so their stomachs and intestines have difficulty processing this feed, which contributes to diseases, like E. Coli and salmonella, that factory grown animals then pass on to humans.
- Financial bailouts of factory farms from the federal government with taxpayer money. (Trump’s recent trade war with China has cost taxpayers $27 billion in direct payments to American farmers to counteract their lost profits, in addition to the higher prices that American consumers must pay for imported goods from China).
- Unchecked corporate mergers and buy-outs, which allows factory farm monopolies to develop. This harms small and medium-sized family farms and greatly reduces the quality of the agricultural product from the remaining factory mega-farms, who are protected against government regulation and escape from facing competition in a supposedly American Capitalist society. Government protected monopolies represent egregious, nefarious, and destructive Corporate Socialism that contradicts the very essence of a free market, capitalist, American society.
- Lax environmental pollution standards that excuse large factory farms from implementing proper health and safety requirements to protect people and the planet. Enormous factory farms that operate and slaughter more animals must also dispose of the manure and limit greenhouse gas emission, a task that becomes increasingly difficult the larger farms get.
- Poor health and medical standards, combined with weak government regulation, which allows factory farm corporations to purchase large amounts of antibiotics at low cost and with little penalty for overuse in order to raise factory animals in dark warehouses for slaughter, without the necessary biological and environmental requirements of a wild animal.
Antibacterial Resistant Superbugs
Farmers inject most factory animals with large amounts of growth hormones to speed up the maturity process and increase milk production in female cows, and to rapidly increase the fat content of pigs and chickens before slaughter. This accelerated growth process increases the size of confined and malnourished factory-farmed animals without the necessary social, biological, evolutionary, and environmental requirements of a naturally born and raised wild animal. Many of these factory animals double in size in half the amount of time than the normal evolutionary process intended, which damages their organs from too much internal pressure caused by an overload of hormones and fat cells; their excess fat also prevents them from moving around their cages, which snaps their fragile bones from too much weight, leaving them immobile.
Factory farms use large amounts of antibiotics in their animals to prevent disease, but the diseases that these antibiotics are supposed to prevent are simply masked- like a band-aid over a laceration- before the sick animals make it to the slaughterhouse. Whatever sickness or zoonotic disease the factory grown imitation beasts carry- whether it’s pneumonia, Salmonella or E. Coli- are consumed by the very humans that purchase this meat without questioning its origin, quality or potential health consequences. A zoonotic disease is a disease that passes from animals to humans, which includes Swine flu, Avian flu, E. Coli, Salmonella and Mad Cow Disease. Thirteen different zoonotic diseases kill more than 2.2 million human beings, worldwide, each year.
Human beings consume these antibiotics, hormones, fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides (poison)-which increases the likelihood of antibiotic-resistant superbugs and accelerates the speed of biological maturity in young children- in trace amounts, on their meat, fruits and vegetables; but over time these lab-created chemicals accumulate in the human blood, body, and brain, which contributes to sickness, disease, and death in large portions of the American population, who must fight off stronger bacterial infections with weakened immune systems. Bacteria are constantly evolving to subvert our excessive use of antibiotics, which leads to antibiotic-resistant superbugs. Drugs that should be preventing human disease and sickness go directly into factory-farmed imitation animals, which contributes to greater amounts of human disease and death through once preventable diseases.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) finds that antibiotic-resistant superbugs infect two million and kill 23,000 Americans each year. Worldwide, 700,000 people die, each year, from antimicrobial-resistant diseases and, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), if superbug and antibiotic-resistant diseases continue, unabated, they could kill up to 9.5 million people worldwide, each year, by 2050. The rise of antibiotic-resistant superbugs not only threatens our health, our medical treatment and technology, our national security and civil sovereignty but also contributes to our ever-increasing healthcare costs under a healthcare and government system that fails to recognize the magnitude of our reckless and excessive use of antibiotics- not for the health benefit of sick human beings themselves- but for the financial benefit of corporations to treat their sick factory-farmed imitation animals with a temporary, band-aid solution over a long-term, deep, systemic wound.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)- responsible for protecting human health and promoting food safety- reports that 80 percent (28.8 million pounds) of the antibiotics sold in the United States are used to raise livestock and poultry, rather than in human medical treatment. The FDA has known about the misuse of antibiotics since the 1970s but fails to regulate properly due to the political influence of factory farm corporations and the necessity of mass food production to feed a country of over 330 million Americans. Yet, regardless of the short-term profit incentive of factory farm corporations in their overuse of antibiotics, and the short-term societal implications of keeping an entire country fed on a daily basis, the long-term unintended consequences of our abundant use of antibiotics in farm animals threatens to create a strain of incurable diseases in the very human beings that our short-term use of antibiotics intends to protect.
We operate on impulse, with a lack of foresight, through our ignorance of issues that impact our health and safety, but are quickly ignored by parasitic governments and corporations that sustain the growth, influence, power, and profits of the other, while our biological wellbeing is bombarded with many dangerous and soon-to-be incurable diseases of our own making. Part 3