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Factory Farms Breed Dangerous Food

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Unwholesome, Unsanitary and Inhumane Conditions
Raising animals on cramped, filthy and inhumane factory farms differs greatly from what most consumers envision as the traditional American farm.

Hundreds of thousands of birds are breathing, urinating and defecating in the close quarters of factory-style poultry farms. These conditions give viruses and bacteria limitless opportunities to mutate and spread. This is a very real concern given the presence of avian flu in many parts of the world. The poultry industry has tried to portray factory farms as a solution to the spread of avian flu. It claims that keeping the birds indoors somehow isolates them from the outside world and the disease that lurks there.

Contrary to these claims, scientists suspect that it was in poultry factory farms that avian flu mutated from a relatively harmless virus found in wild birds for centuries to the deadly H5N1 strain of the virus that is killing birds and humans today. In England, the virulent H5N1 strain first broke out at the country�s largest turkey farm in early 2007. Theories about the source of the infection include rats or flies entering the facility from a nearby poultry processing plant that itself had received a shipment of infected poultry parts from Hungary. These large-scale facilities rely on truckloads of feed and supplies that arrive every day, providing a way for the disease to spread.

Raising thousands of animals together in crowded conditions generates lots of manure and urine. For example, a dairy farm with 2,500 cows produces as much waste as a city of 411,000 people. Unlike a city, where human waste ends up at a sewage treatment plant, livestock waste is not treated, but rather washes out of the confinement buildings into large cesspools, or lagoons. In feedlots, open lots where thousands of cattle wait and fatten up before slaughter, the animals often stand in their own waste before it is washed away. The cattle often have some water-splashed manure remaining on their hides when they go to slaughter. This presents the risk of contamination of the meat from viruses and bacteria.

Animal Welfare
Rather than grazing in green pastures, animals on factory farms exist in tight confinement with thousands of other animals. They have little chance to express their natural behaviors.

Pigs on factory farms are confined in small concrete pens, without bedding or soil or hay for rooting. The stress of being deprived of social interaction causes some pigs to bite the tails off of other pigs. Some factory farm operators respond by cutting off their tails.

Chickens stand in cages or indoors in large pens, packed so tightly together that each chicken gets a space about the size of a sheet of paper to itself. The chickens are not given space to graze and peck at food in the barnyard, so they resort to pecking each other. Many factory farmers cut off their beaks, a painful procedure that makes it difficult for chickens to eat.

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5:42PM PDT on Aug 22, 2010

Please read the latest on the recent egg recall here--

11:50AM PDT on Jul 14, 2010

This is sad. For those who occasionally eat meat locally grown seems safest. thanks.

3:17AM PST on Feb 10, 2010

The overall danger seems to be that industrial livestock husbandry for meat production is indicated as a decisive factor in the evolution and spread of disease as well as in the doubtful fitness for consumption of the meat produced.


4:32PM PST on Jan 28, 2010

scary when they start talking about all the diseases that comes from stuff.

9:57PM PDT on Sep 5, 2009

More good reasons to buy meat from small, local farms that practice methods of animal husbandry that have been used for thousands of years...

5:59PM PDT on Aug 25, 2009

This is just another reason not to use animals as commodities, as food, along with cruelty reasons - you can't use a sentient being as a cheap commodity and expect no deleterious effects

6:20AM PDT on Aug 25, 2009

It's important that if you are buying meat from local farmers that you talk with them about their practices and if possible, visit the farm. I've started doing that in my community and it's been very informative and fun developing relationships with local farmers. I also buy flour from a local farmer/miller to avoid pesticides and additives in my flour and oatmeal. I believe that voting with our pocket books and taking our dollars away from the factory farms will have the biggest impact on changing the deplorable conditions on American factory farms.

11:18PM PDT on Aug 24, 2009

This article was very informative. I'm so sad to hear the treatment of these poor animals. It brought tears to my house. I can't believe we have such deplorable and unhealthy practices in the US. We need to bring attention to people we know so they stop supporting factory raised food.

3:30PM PDT on Aug 24, 2009

I'd have to agree with Randolph D., though it sounds radical. Based on the actions of the FDA, I have come to the conclusion that they are not here to protect us, but to keep us just beyond arms length to the industries and big businesses that continue to poison us. It is clear they make the decisions continuously to benefit big agri-business over the health of citizens. Look to Europe, Japan, and a few other more completely civilized nations for food answers.....not the USA.

1:59PM PDT on Aug 24, 2009

It breaks my heart to know how animals live in these hell holes. that's why I went vegan 3 years ago.

Not on the list above are bovine immunodeficiency virus (BIV), the equivalent of the AIDS virus in cows, which can infect human cells. There's also bovine leukemia. As far as I know 9 out of 10 herds are infected with one of the other or both.

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