Thursday, June 3, 2010

Consequences of industrialized cattle farming

We must act to encourage more organic methods in the nation’s livestock industry. According to the General Accounting Office (GAO), 81 million Americans become sick, and 9,000 die from food-borne illness every year. It is insane to think about these horrific numbers. I think government should set policies that decrease industrialized cattle farming and increase organic farming in United States. Industrialized cattle farming are not only bad for our health, but it is also bad for our environment and livestock.
Brief History:

Large scale cattle farming started around 1950 in USA. At that time, most cattle were fed green grass, some corn and grain; they were slaughtered at age of three to four years old. When farmers observed that feeding corn makes cows fatter than feeding grass, farmers gradually stopped feeding grass. Instead, they began to feed cows with large amount of corn. According to Death “In the past, all beef was grass fed beef, but today what is commercially available in the United States is almost all feed a lot corn fed beef.” Cattle farming increased dramatically to fulfill people’s demands, and that was the beginning of industrialization of cattle farming. According to USDA, there are only 64 thousand organic cattle out of approximately 30 million cattle.
The difference between the industrialized and natural or pasture cattle farming are that the natural cows are free to walk/run/roam in the field, do some exercise to burn their fat, eat organic or natural grass. They do not get antibiotic or other chemical in their bodies. Unlike organic cattle, industrialized cattle are not free to walk in the field; instead, they have to stay in the farm all day in a closed location without seeing sunlight and fresh air. In addition, Corn fed beef is high in fat, especially saturated fat. However, grass fed beef has less in saturated fat, vitamin E, and more of the beneficial unsaturated fatty acids called omega-3s.
Corn-fed beef is not good for people, particularly the people who regularly eat fatty steaks and burgers. Corn fed beef may sound nutritious, but in fact corn is not healthy for cattle. The cattle's stomach systems are designed for grass, not grain. Corn fed beef fatten up quickly. A corn diet makes cattle sick deadly in some case, create more bacteria and produce E. coli in cattle stomach. The animals must have antibiotics to stave off illness and infection. Therefore, when people get sick, the antibiotics do not work for lots of us because we already have lots of antibiotics in our body.

Too much politics is involved in farming industries. Most of the legislators are fully aware of the negative consequences processed (industrialized) food. But, they do not take any initiatives to encourage companies to grow organic cattle. Federal agencies also do not to come up with bold initiatives set standards/regulations that are good for healthy food. Instead, agencies like the Food and Drug Administration approve food standards that are found later to be not good for human consumption. Unfortunately, only a handful companies dominate the food market such as Cargill Company, which is a huge meat Producing Company. According to The New York Times article written by Michael Moss, a girl, Stephanie Smith, who was a dance instructor, was affected by in E. coli from eating meat from Cargill. Doctors had to send her into coma for nine weeks to save her life. After nine weeks, she got out of coma but became paralyzed. She is never going to live a normal life and she has to spend the rest of her life in a wheel chair. Her case is not uncommon. Like her, many people lose their beautiful lives because of these companies. Cargill is still in the business because meat companies have too much money and they hire lobbying groups. Lobbyists go to congressmen and senators and give them money for their campaign. In return, our elected officials make policies that benefit the industrialized cattle farming. Unfortunately, these policies do not serve the best health interest of us.

Health issue:
Consuming processed meat is not good for human. People suffer many diseases and they face death in some cases. Groceries get hormones animal in the stores which are not a real animal, but people do not know the difference. In addition, Stress animal, which they get in slaughter house, produces E. coli in their stomachs significantly. E. coli increases the likelihood of food poisoning in human bodies. In the movie Food, Inc. shows a lady, Barbara Kowalcyk, who is a Food Safety Advocate, lost her two and half years old son because he had E. coli in his hamburger.
E. coli also comes from cattle manure. It can mix with water in ground and affect drinking water. McAndrew said, in The Toronto Star, “At least seven people – possibly as many as nine- have died and another 1,000 have become ill from a deadly outbreak of E. coil that seeded into Walkerton’s drinking water and slipped past the town’s faulty chlorination system.” This incident exemplifies how deadly it could be for all of us in the United States because it could happen to us as well. Furthermore, recently, researchers found that mad cow disease in the cattle, “which can spread from one animal to another when the brain and spinal material form an infected cow is consumed by another cow.” When people eat meat from infected cow, they also get this disease. Over the past ten years, 150 people died because of eating meat from mad cow diseases. In addition, cattle meat increases heart disease. Looking the above example makes it clear that processed meat cause disease and it is harmful for our health.

Animal Abuse:
Farmers abuse cattle in their farms. Young calf’s meat is called “veal” which is very tasty to eat. According to the 2002 edition of Animal Liberation by Singer Peter, a veal company, Provimi, Inc. controls three- fourth USA veal market (page, 107). To make them testy, veal companies like the Provimi, prevent them from gaining muscles by keeping them in small locations inside boxes, and slaughter calves when they are three to twenty weeks.
This is an instance of cruelty because calves are supposed to walk/run in open fields. In addition, the movie Food, Inc. shows that cattle are standing in ankle deep in their manure all day long. They cannot even move in the farm where they are raised and they get little access to sunlight and fresh air. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service, every year about 10 percent, or 900 million, of the animals raised for food never reach the slaughterhouse. “They die on the farm due to stress, injury, and disease.” It is a large number even to think about it. The abuse does not stop there. Most farms are located far away from cities and slaughterhouses. Therefore, when they are transported from farms to slaughterhouses, cattle spend many hours packed into the back of trucks. This transportation hurts cattle physically. Also, slaughter houses treat these animals poorly. They cut and skin live animals in many instances. Furthermore, cattle have milking machines in their teat, and farmer milk cows excessively.

Currently, cattle have a big hole in their stomach which called “cannulate.” Farmers say the cattle do not get hurt by this hole. Actually, farmers do not understand the cattle because cattle cannot talk. Fortunately, some States have begun to take measures to prevent animal cruelty. According to New York Times article written by McKinley Jesse, “ California many soon place animal abusers on the same level as sex offenders by listing them in an online registry, complete with their home addresses and places of employment.” California understands the problem and its leaders on the right track. In short, animal abuse is prevalent in USA. Unfortunately, lots of our fellow citizens are not aware of this grave issue. We have to take initiatives to inform our fellow citizens and stop these kinds of animal abuse. At the same time, our public officials need to follow the footsteps of California.

Industrialized cattle farming negatively affects environment. Currently, most cows are being feed corn instead of grass. As a result of corn feeding, cattle waste and fart produces methane and nitrous oxide gas. Therefore, American farmers emitting methane more than most developed nations. In the past, cattle farming were not a threat to environment; but, currently it is a big threat. It contains global warming, air and water pollution, land degradation and loss of biodiversity. According to the United Nations’ Agriculture and Consumer Protection department report, cattle farming are responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas production. Also, the same report states, “It generates even bigger shares of emissions of other gases with greater potential to warm the atmosphere: as much as 37 percent of anthropogenic methane, mostly from enteric fermentation by ruminants, and 65 percent of anthropogenic nitrous oxide, mostly from manure.” All these happen for feeding corn, non organic grass and chemical. Global warming due to the above causes will make our planet earth unlivable in long run.
To reduce emitting greenhouse gas, decrease or stop global warming, US government should set policies that will encourage farmers to grow organic cattle. Organic cattle farming will help soil allowing more oxygen in the ground to help plant grow. Also, organic cattle manure provides natural fertilizer for land.

As American, we are a better nation that sets good public policies. We cannot just eat what a few companies are producing. We have to be mindful about our health and environment. We cannot let our environment in danger place by practicing industrialized livestock. People should reject the bad quality meat which we get from the meat companies. Keeping the best interest in mind, we should demand organic meat from them.

Works Cited:

“Animal Feed.” The Health issue. “n.d.” <>

“Death” Corn feed beef v s grass feed beef. “11 May 2010”

“Farm Animals-Cattle.” History. “n.d.”
“Factory farming” “Animal suffering.” May 5th 2010.
“Livestock Impacts on Environment.” United Nations. “November 2006”

Movie, Food, Inc.

Moss, Michael “Burger that shattered her life.” New York Times. “9 October 2009”

McKinley, Jesse “Lawmakers Consider an Animal Abuse Registry.” New York Times. “February 21, 2010”

McAndrew, Brian “Limiting manure possible solution” “The Toronto Star” June 1, 2000, Thursday, Edition 1.

“Organic Production.” USDA-Certified Organic Livestock. Table #5. “ 30 March 2010”

Singer, Peter. Animal Liberation: The Difinitive Classic of the Animal Movement. 2002. Ecco Press 2001. P,107.

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