CAFO-The Tragedy of Farm Animal Factories


This Post is a result of a critique of 5 recent books on the subject, visiting 2 meat-processing facilities, several chicken CAFOs, viewing the documentaries Food Inc, King Corn, Big River and reading the other references on our site. The recent books:

Farm Sanctuary by Gene Baur (2008) the rescue of abandoned and abused farm animals and caring for them in sanctuaries in New York and California. Proving that food animals are just as capable of showing emotion and suffering pain as animal pets.

Animal Factory by David Kirby (2010) -Mass killing of water species in the Neuse River of North Carolina and nationwide caused by pathogen laced manure lagoons used to treat? the overwhelming amount of manure generated by hog and dairy CAFOs. Animal abuse issues are also addressed. The story of a group of farmers dedicated to elimination or making major changes in CAFO production, see their website Socially Responsible Agriculture

Eating Animals by Safron Foer (2010) -An inside look at CAFOs based on employee interviews and undercover work showing the same consistent abusive practices cited in all 5 books.

Why we LOVE DOGS, EAT PIGS, & WEAR COWS by Melanie Joy- A psychologist view of how we use physic numbing, a’natural thing to do belief system’ and secrecy to turn a blind eye to animal suffering in CAFOs. All violent ideologies, including the Nazis, and communist massacres of millions of human beings in the 20th century or slavery in the 17th and 18th centuries survive because of mass denial of truth. We believe the CAFO Industry when they tell us about abundant food and water and the safe peaceful non-violent conditions in CAFOs because at some level most of us, particularly cheap meat eaters, don’t want to know the way things really are.

The CAFO reader edited by Daniel Imhoff (2010)- A collection of 38 essays by a who’s who of sustainable farming advocates including many of our references, the Pew Commission and John Hopkins School of public health, Fred Kirchenmann and the Leopold Center at Iowa State, Michael Pollan, Joel Salatin, Eric Schlosser, Wendell Berry and many others who we have quoted. Included is a brief biography of each writer and a list of term definitions unique to the Industry. If you only have time to read one book this is the one. If time is further restricted at least read page 23 to see how sows are treated.

Matthew Scully, is a conservative editor at National Review, and a speechwriter for, George W. Bush, John McCain and Sarah Palin. His book Dominion changed the way many conservatives look at animal activists and the confinement industry. He writes- “Intensive confinement is a world where billions  (10 Billion per year) of birds, cows, pigs and other creatures are locked away, enduring miseries they do not deserve, for our convenience and pleasure. We belittle the activist with their radical agenda, scarcely noticing the radical cruelty they seek to redress. At the Smithfield mass confinement hog farms I toured in North Carolina, the visitor is greeted by a bedlam of squealing, chain rattling and horrible roaring. To maximize the use of space and minimize the need for care the creatures are encased in row after row. 400 to 500 pound mammals trapped without relief inside iron crates 7feet long by 22 inches wide. They chew maniacally on bars and chains, as foraging animals will do when denied straw, or engage in stereotyped nest building with straw that isn’t there, or else lie there like broken beings. They lie covered in their own urine and excrement with broken legs from trying to escape or just to turn, covered with festering sores, tumors, ulcers, lesions or what my guide shrugged off as routine pus pockets. Kept alive by antibiotics, hormones, laxatives mixed into their machine fed swill, the sows leave their crates only to be dragged into other crates just as small to bring forth their piglets. Then its back to the gestation crate for another four months and so back and forth until after seven or eight pregnancies they finally expire from the punishment of it or else are culled with a club or a bolt gun.”

Mathew Scully’s summary of CAFO animal treatment in his book Dominion- “Factory farming isn’t just killing: It is negation. A complete denial of the animal as a living being with his or her own needs and nature. It is not the worst evil we can do but it is the worst evil we can do to them. It confronts us with the equivalent of Abraham Lincoln’s condemnation of human slavery: If slavery is not wrong. Nothing is wrong.”

The agribusiness lobby has a strangle hold on both parties in Congress and in our State of Maryland. At this time I see no way to help these animals, save our topsoil, and restore our streams, rivers and estuaries through the legislative process because the majority of people simply do not care enough. In addition today’s industrial meat is up to 7 times higher in saturated fat than it was when we became addicted in the 1940s. Our personal solution is to eat only pastured animals and we will try to transition to a vegetation diet. Albert Einstein said before he died in 1955: “Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on earth as much as evolution to a vegetarian diet”. Every Einstein theory has proved to be correct and decades ahead of contemporary scientific thinking. I have seen enough to know he was right about this also


2 Responses to “CAFO-The Tragedy of Farm Animal Factories”

  1. Mitch Summars Says:

    This post was very nicely written, and it also contains a lot of useful facts. I appreciated your professional way of writing this post. Thanks, you have made it very easy for me to understand.

  2. Political Gifts Says:

    Intriguing article. I came across your blog a while back and have become a returning visitor to your site. I know I’m a little late in posting my comments but this particular blog post made a lot of sense to me and I enjoyed it. I can’t say that I agree with all you mentioned but it was decidedly fascinating! I run a small US company that manufactures a line of collectible political gifts that commemorate the great leaders, speeches and events of American politics. I’m trying to create American jobs so I hope you don’t mind me including my link in this post. I’m always looking to promote our truly unique American made products and am one of the people who still believes America keeps getting better and better in spite of our current difficulties. I’m not sure if my earlier post was received so I’m trying again. Thanks again for an intriguing article. I will be back soon.

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