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Damages Caused by Industrial Farming

Essay by   •  April 11, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,323 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,885 Views

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Damages caused by industrial farming

Because of a few large corporations that have taken over the agriculture business, animals are now raised faster and cheaper. The agriculture business has become wealthier while keeping the prices low. This is only a smokescreen as the real damages or costs caused by industrial farming is the loss of farms owned by families, food illnesses, our environment, and animal suffering is substantially enormous.

First, we have the loss of farms owned by families. These farms have been either bought and or squeezed out by the immense industrial farm corporations for lack of ability to raise enough money to keep up with these large corporations. The few farmers that do have enough capital for newer and more efficient farming systems quickly find out that the money they save from labor costs still falls short of the costs to support these newer facilities such as electricity, animal housing, and veterinary care . Due to the increase of industrial farms, the price has decreased for local farmers get for their naturally fed and grown animals. This chain-reaction is the reason why many farmers have been forced out of business and along the way decreasing independent farms by 300,000 between 1979 and 1998 (www.hfa.org). The actions of the federal government have also help this great loss of small farms. The federal government, influenced greatly by the large industrial farming corporation lobbyists, has continually passed federal farming programs to support and benefit these larger corporations. Between 1987 and 1996, the industrial farming corporations have contributed an estimated 41 million to lawmakers in the federal government, according to the Center for Public Integrity (www.hfa.org) .

Secondly, we have animal suffering. The United States Department of Agriculture's (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service, 10 percent, or roughly 900 million animals raised for food die on the industrial farms. Their deaths are due to disease, stress, and injury. Industrial farming companies claim that animals raised on their farms are "as well cared for as their own pet dog or cat" (www.hfa.gov). The truth is animals raised on these farms are characterized by acute deprivation, disease and stress. These large corporations have made a decision to take a small amount of loss rather to use monetary resources to treat animals humanely. Millions of animals raised on these large farms are forced to live in closed quarters, such as cages and crates that only their bodies can fit in. Chickens are crowded so tightly that they can't walk to properly develop their legs, fly, or any minimal movement such as something simple as to turn around to look behind them. An extreme consequence of chickens being raised in this crowded and tightly environment is that some fall prey to stress-induced cannibalism (Ransford, M.) . If any private citizen was to treat their cat or dog in the same manner as in these farms they would be arrested and condemned by organizations such as P.E.T.A... In the powerful world of agricultural business, there is however no legal protection to protect farm animals from the most harsh and brutal treatment. Unless farm animals are being used for exhibition or research, the Animal Welfare Act, which regulates the treatment of animals for commercial use, does not apply. Many states have also exempted the treatment of animals from their cruelty laws. The powerful industrial farming corporations have seen to it that farm animals are specifically excluded from animal welfare laws (www.hfa.com).

Thirdly, we have food illnesses. Diseases such as influenza, metritis, intestinal diseases, pneumonia, orthostasis, mastitis, and scours are among the few ailments of an extended list that plague the farm animals on industrial farms. Depriving farm animals the minimal basic animal needs such as proper nutrition, exercise, fresh air, and veterinary care will result in a breeding ground of infectious diseases. Industrial farm corporations have tried to counter theses diseases caused by the intense confinements of these animals by injecting large doses of drugs and antibiotics. Farmers in 1954, used approximately half a million pounds of antibiotics, in contrast industrial farming today uses about 25 million pounds of antibiotics, which is half of what is produced in the US . Approximately 80 percent of theses antibiotics are poured directly in their food to

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