By Deb Young
Factory farming is built on an attitude that regards animals and the natural world merely as commodities to be exploited for profit.
Corporations have turned family-farming methods into cost-saving, mass-production strategies, which endanger public health and treat animals cruelly.
Also known as large confined animal feeding operations factory farms treat animals like production units, and the result is poor food quality for you, and inhumane conditions for the animals.
Consider some of the ingredients commonly used in factory-farmed animal feed:
Excessive grains, fed to animals designed to eat grass
Plastic pellets, fed to animals as “roughage” because the factory diet doesn’t contain natural fiber
Meat from their own species, turning farm animals into cannibals (this practice has also been linked to the spread of mad cow disease)
Animal byproducts, such as feathers, blood, intestines, euthanized cats and dogs, and road kill
Drugs and chemicals, including antibiotics (an estimated 13.5 million pounds each year) and antimicrobials (which promote the accumulation of arsenic in chickens)
Antibiotics fed to factory-farmed animals are so grossly overused that they are contributing to the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the United States.
Approximately 95% of factory-raised animals are subject to deplorable conditions such as overcrowding, hunger, thirst, and sometimes-fatal weather extremes. Many times, they are kept conscious or even skinned alive during the process of slaughtering.
“Free-range” evokes a positive image of chickens, turkeys and cows living outdoors with plenty of fresh air, sunshine and open space to roam in.
Animals raised for meat may be sold as “free-range” if they have government certified access to the outdoors. The door may be open for only five minutes and the farm still qualifies as “free-range.” Apart from the “open door,” no other criteria such as environmental quality, number or space per animal, are included in the term “free-range.”
Free-range hens are typically debeaked as chicks at the hatchery . Debeaking is a painful facial mutilation that impairs a hen’s ability to eat normally and preen her feathers. Typically, 2,000 to 20,000 or more hens – each hen having one square foot of living space the size of a sheet of paper – are confined in a shed with little or no access to the outdoors. If the hens can go outside, the exit is often very small, allowing only the closest hens to get out. And the “range” may be nothing more than a mudyard saturated with manure
Sadly the public is led to believe that ‘Cage-Free” animals live a happy, natural life, this is simply not so!
When you buy “free-range” or not – you support an industry that exploits and abuses animals in an absolutely horrifying way.
Buyer Beware! Know where your food comes from and how it got to your table.