ANIMAL FACTORIES- Anti-Nature? You Judge!

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Tom Horton wrote an excellent article in the November issue of Chesapeake Bay Magazine describing corn production as the major cause of nutrient pollution in the US primarily responsible for destroying most rivers and major estuaries such as the Gulf of Mexico and the Chesapeake Bay as species habitat. He also cited Federally subsidized corn ethanol as a destroyer of engines. He did not mention short cuts in soil management that have squandered half of the nations topsoil according to some scientists.

But the story of  corn does not end there. Eighty percent of the corn goes to feed animals in Animal Factories( CAFOs) which an increasing number of farmers are opposing because of the economic and environmental damage caused to them and their communities. Their story is told in David Kirby’s book Animal Factory (see animal abuse post) which has led these farmers to start a web site, Socially Responsible Agriculture, and offer their services advising communities on how to avoid being exposed to these facilities. Farmers in Kirby’s book refer to CAFO’s as anti-nature. Is nature fighting back?

1. In the most comprehensive review of the world’s research on Cancer Prevention, The World Cancer Research Fund & The American Institute for Cancer Research published their report (see cancer & heart disease archive) by 200+ researchers and doctors. Their recommendations were #1 eat a plant based diet and #2 avoid red meat (beef pork. lamb and goat) plus dairy and processed meat.The Factory Animal Map shows that red meat and dairy factory locations dominate many landscapes.

2.In June 2010 Harvard University published it’s decades long study (see summary archived under heart disease) on Coronary Heart Disease (CHD). Conclusion: high red meat intake increases risk of coronary heart disease and CHD risk can be reduced by shifting sources of protein in the US diet. The Head of their nutrition department has advised that similar results will be published shortly for diabetes and stroke and that people in adolescence and young adults are particularly vulnerable.

3. People living in or traveling through an area within 3 miles of CAFO facilities are exposed to deadly antibiotic resistant pathogens including MRSA (the hospital pathogen) which contaminates workers, neighbors, and hospitals. MRSA kills more people each year than the aids virus. (See our reference #21 ). We have notified MDE of an elementary school within this distance with hi-speed fans blowing pathogens in its direction. MDE tells us they only respond if there is an odor complaint.

4. CAFO’s produce 3 times more manure nationwide than humans, none treated, and it is many times more dangerous due to feed additives which include antibiotics, growth hormones, appetite enhancers such as arsenic, and distillers grain. The manure, also very high in phosphorous, is spread on farm fields close to these facilities exposing not only humans close by but the products that are grown in these fields.

5. Testing of aquifers under two of these facilities on the Delmarva Peninsula by The Maryland Department of Environment showed that  levels of nitrate already elevated many times over the normal background level of 0,3 mg/l  by adjacent corn field fertilizer over-application was as high as 80mg/l or 200 times the normal background level.

6. Treatment of animals in CAFO facilities was described very well by conservative writer Mathew Scully quoted in our animal abuse post. This treatment ranges from negating life as an animal being to the physical abuse by minimum wage workers trying to stay employed and given the impossible task of getting very large animals to do what their instincts and the terrorized screams of their fellow beings tell them they should not do. No being deserves this treatment.

Government officials at all levels Local, State, and including the Congress of the United States are subsidizing this broken agricultural/ meat & dairy production system  not only with cash subsidies but more importantly providing hidden subsidy by ignoring clean air and water laws, animal abuse laws, USDA guidelines for soil management all adding up to support of the two most deadly killers of its citizens heart disease and cancer. Indeed nature is effectively fighting back.

Does it make any sense for anyone to eat meat laced with unhealthy additives, the bulk of it the cause of major diseases, and all of it destroying our most important natural resources?

There was a time when my answer might have been different but now that I have been exposed to high quality plant food prepared by top chefs my answer is absolutely it makes no sense at all.

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