Archive for the ‘CAFO Animal Abuse’ Category

A Fast Food Chain Leads

February 16, 2012

In reporting on the American food production system most of the news is bad particularly over the last few years with medical reports connecting red meat to cancer and heart disease and record sediment and nutrient contamination of Chesapeake Bay and the Gulf of Mexico caused by overuse of fertilizer, short cuts in soil management and a glut of CAFO manure. It is therefore indeed good news reported by the Soil and Water Conservation Society in distributing the Chipotle animated tape featuring Willie Nelson which was aired last week at the Grammy awards showing farmers dismantling their food animal confinement operation. These so called factory farms and the corn feed that  drives them are the single largest source of pollution in the US and a fast food chain is leading the way to healthier food and a healthier environment as well. Kudos to Steve Ells and Chipotle.

Chipotle-Higher Quality Food

December 21, 2011

Chipotle Mexican Grille opened a new fast food restaurant in Easton, Maryland last week. We attempted to eat there on December 20th but the lines were too long. By using organic vegetables and pasture raised meat, locally raised if possible, Chipotle is setting a much higher standard of quality for all restaurants. Steve Ells the founder decided to use pasture raised animal products, after visiting Factory Farms (CAFO’s) in 1999. Another benefit of pasture raised animals is reduction in corn feed production which along with CAFO manure is primarily responsible for the nutrient contamination of every river and estuary East of the Rockies including the Gulf of Mexico and Chesapeake Bay. Both of these estuaries had near record oxygen dead zones in the summer of 2011. Short cuts in soil management to produce corn have caused the U.S. Corn Belt to lose half its topsoil. Chesapeake Bay had record sediment intrusion in March of 2011. Long-term studies by Harvard University, the National Cancer Institute, the American Institute for Cancer Research, and the World Cancer Research Fund cite overconsumption of red meat and process meat, mostly CAFO raised, along with high fructose corn sugar and refined grains as primarily responsible for our epidemics of cancer, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Why are lines so long in Easton as well as the restaurants on M street in Washington, DC and in Annapolis? Certainly it is not the ambiance. The tacos and burritos are served on paper plates with plastic utensils and it is bench seating with little or no privacy. Could it be that young people (most of the customers are in their 20’s) are interested in healthier food that is produced in a way that is sensitive to the welfare of animals and restoration of the environment? We went next door to Bob Evans which was half empty. I did have the opportunity to suggest to the manager that he tell ownership of this shift in demand for higher quality food.

BACON or Repair Bills-How to Use Corn

May 1, 2011

There is increasing conflict over where the corn production in America should go. The attached from the Wall Street Journal is the opinion of the CEO Larry Pope of the Smithfield Company. As you know if you have read our posts, corn is overfertilized by a factor of 3 and is the major cause of nutrient pollution of our rivers and estuaries and it requires denuding vast areas of our Country, which along with short cuts in soil management has destroyed half our topsoil. Certainly after paying this terrible price we should use corn in the most effective way possible. Just a few years ago the amount of corn used for ethanol was insignificant today it may be as much as 40% of the crop.

So where should the corn be used to be most useful? No that’s the wrong question. Where should it go to do the least further damage?

First lets look at corn as a food or as a raw material to produce food.

It is the primary raw material in the production of processed food. These are the bottles, cans, boxes and bags found in the middle of the supermarket that according to former FDA head David Kessler are produced using high fructose corn sugar, corn oil fat, and salt in just the right proportion to make them addictive and a major cause of our obesity epidemic.

The primary use is still as feed for food animals and most goes to feed cattle and hogs. In 2009 and 2010 studies were published which looked at the long term risk factors for various cancers, heart disease, diabetes and stroke. These studies all reached the same conclusion. Corn fed Cattle and Hog based meat including processed meat is the leading risk factor in the initiation and development of these diseases.  These studies are all archived on our site.

But since this post is prompted by Smithfield. Lets look again at writer Mathew Scully’s experience at a Smithfield farrowing facility in North Carolina as described in his book “Dominion”. “ they lie there in iron crates covered in their own urine and excrement with broken legs from trying to escape or just to turn, covered with festering sores, tumors, ulcers, and lesions. They chew maniacally on their bars and chains or lie there like broken beings. When they are due they are dragged to other crates to have their piglets. Then its back to the gestation crate for another four months and so back and forth for seven or eight pregnancies until they finally expire from the punishment”.

Given the poor choices between cancer, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, obesity and equipment repair. I would prefer to continue to pay the cost of our small equipment repair. But a much more appropriate choice would be to see Mr. Pope behind bars where he belongs for animal abuse and killing people who eat his bacon. Of course we no longer do.

Einstein’s view- Compare to what we did.

April 25, 2011

THIS IS WHAT EINSTEIN SAID:

Albert Einstein’s theories about the nature of our Universe have all proved correct and are the basis of much of today’s science. But another observation he made before his death might prove to be more profound and of greater importance to our survival.

Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances of survival of life on earth more than transition to a vegetarian diet.”

This is what we did: see factory farm map

U.S. hog factory farms added 4,600 corn fed hogs every day between 1997 and 2007.

U.S. industrial feedlots added nearly 1,100 corn fed beef cattle every day between 2002 and 2007.

U.S. factory-farm dairies added nearly 650 corn fed cows every day between 1997 and 2007.

The Government Accountability Office reported that the number of large corn fed livestock operations tripled from about 3,600 in 1982 to 12,000 in 2002.

We eliminated healthier pasture based production while exponentially increasing consumption of meat.

 The result of what we did:

The latest major studies published in 2010 by The World Cancer Research Fund, the American Institute for Cancer Research, Harvard’s Nurses Health study, opinions by Harvard’s Walter Willett, and Johns Hopkins Robert Lawrence all cite excess consumption of corn fed red meat including beef, dairy, pork, and lamb for our obesity and major disease epidemics. Most believe that the inherent high fat content produced by the CAFO process is the problem.

The US society spends more on health care than any society in the world and yet by any measure we are the most obese and unhealthiest society in the World.

In addition the excess use of antibiotics in animal feed is causing the medical community to lose antibiotic treatment as a major weapon in fighting infection.

Other major issues include the common practice of grilling meat, which produces 2 known carcinogens. Massive use of atrazine based pesticides and herbicides are known carcinogen. Other known carcinogens including arsenic are used in CAFO animal feed.

Excess fertilizer used in Corn production and the animal manure developed by production have caused the nutrient contamination of all the Nations Rivers which in turn contaminates all major estuaries including The Gulf of Mexico, the Chesapeake Bay and other Coastal Estuaries. Shortcuts in soil management exacerbate the obvious danger of denuding vast areas of the earths surface to plant corn. The result is that many areas of the Country have lost half their topsoil.

Few people have seen CAFO production and slaughter first hand. Psychologist Melanie Joy explains that people are suffering from Industry induced mass physic numbing. The brutalization of every one of the 40 billion food animals is the worst treatment that humans can do to their fellow beings. This makes the holocaust or the mass killings by Communists regimes look like a picnic. The industry could not do this in daylight.

WHAT TO DO?

Don’t expect any help in improving the health and environmental impact of our food system. The Agribusiness Lobby has a stranglehold on Governments at all levels and they have been successful in blunting every effort to make even modest improvements. Only you can make a difference

Stop buying supermarket meat and avoid restaurant meat unless they provide pasture-produced products which some are now doing. Pasture products are available from local suppliers or mail order. See fixingourfood.com

IOWA CCI-Citizens for Community Improvement

April 14, 2011

STOP THE FACTORY FARM ATTACK is the logo for this very active Iowa Community Group. They recently stopped an effort by Governor Branson and the Factory Farm Lobby to deregulate factory farming by defeating 5 factory farm deregulation bills. A glance at the National Factory Farm map shows that Iowa is one of the States completely deep red indicating extreme density. Others include Nebraska, Kansas, Eastern North Carolina, Southern Minnesota, and Southern California. States including Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland New Mexico and many others have Counties with extremely high density. Example: Chaves County in New Mexico produces more CAFO manure, all put on nearby fields untreated, than the combined populations of LA and Philadelphia. If you live in one of these extremely dense Counties, which you can determine from the State map, or if you live within 3 miles of one of these facilities you should insist that public health officials check the air quality at your property for pathogens and ammonia. Also read the article in Johns Hopkins Magazine entitled Pharmacology, which you can find under Pathogens on our reference page. These facilities are hot spots for aquifer and surface water contamination. The only facilities ever tested by Maryland MDE showed aquifer nitrate levels 200 times the normal background level for Delmarva aquifer nitrate contamination. CAFOs, the legal nomenclature, are sometimes called factory farms or animal factories. The concept is the worst ever conceived by man and they should be eliminated. Currently all of the meat sold at the supermarket or served at restaurants comes from these facilities. When you buy this meat you are feeding your family a product that is produced in filth. Johns Hopkins calls these facilities perfect pathogen incubators. When you buy this meat you are supporting the massive abuse of farm animals that is too despicable to describe here. If you want a description from eyewitnesses please look at our archive under animal abuse or ask me to describe some of the abuses that I have personally witnessed. Look for pasture raised, Organic Raised for cattle only, the Food Alliance label requires minimal pasture time, when buying meat and dairy products or buy directly from Pasture based farmers, some are listed on our site. The term range chicken can be misleading and can only be verified by a farm visit. If the farmer refuses your request do not buy the product. Pasture farmers are anxious to show you their farm and production methods. My experience indicates that they respect and care for their animals. Factory Farms look at these animals as inanimate production units.

Please Give It Up- Message to Industrial Ag

April 9, 2011

We will come back to the farmers who made substantial investment in the basically flawed Industrial Agricultural system following World War II with the encouragement of many in the academic community. Lets look at the hard facts:

1.Industrial Agricultural has destroyed half of Iowa’s topsoil with substantial loss nationwide. My early teachers told me topsoil was one of two assets that made our Country great.

2.Industrial Agriculture continues to destroy the Nations ground water and surface water including Estuaries such as Chesapeake Bay through overuse of fertilizer. Our  water resources are our second major basis for greatness.

3, The Industrial system is incorrectly called a food production system. It is not! It is a meat, sugar and junk food production system now recognized as the primary risk factor for cancer, heart disease, obesity, diabetes and stroke, the major causes of out of control health care cost.

4.Other chemicals used in the growing process such as atrazine, antibiotics, arsenic, and growth hormones are major contributors to poor health. CAFO animal facilities are described by Johns Hopkins University as perfect pathogen incubators producing many viruses including flu viruses and the MRSA virus which kills more people each year than aids. Even more importantly the fatten fast CAFO process produces products up to 7 times higher in fat than pasture raised products. Most scientists agree that overconsumption of fat and sugar are primarily responsible for the Nations poor health.

5. Despite efforts to keep the abusive treatment of 5 billion animals a closely held secret there is sufficient evidence to support the truth that massive systematic abuse of food animals is inherent in the Industrial CAFO production process and that animal abuse laws and principles of the Nation’s major religions are being violated.

The Academic Community is split with many scientists still supporting the flawed Industrial System even as more sustainable organic/pasture systems emerge.  I believe they simply cannot face up to the failure of a system which they once heralded as the system that would feed the world. I urge them to please give it up. Readers of this post can use the references archived on this site. A small book titled “A New Vision for Iowa Agriculture” by Francis Thicke an Iowa organic/pasture dairy farmer with a PHD in soils science plus archived major studies on cancer and heart disease will be helpful to readers who may want to consider these thoughts as they make daily buying and eating decisions.

But getting back to the farmers. The Country would be better off reimbursing them for their investment which it could do with the money saved in health care cost and the cost of restoring Chesapeake Bay and our other major natural resources. Any initial cost is worth the price to stop the long term destruction caused by the Industrial system.

Chicken CAFO Integrator mislabeling suit

March 31, 2011

This link will take you to an article in Sustainable Food News which describes a suit by the Humane Society of the US for violation of the Consumer fraud act generated by labeling of confinement (CAFO) chicken as “Humanely Raised.” The suit alleges that no reasonable consumer would consider the treatment of  CAFO chicken as humane.

http://www.sustainablefoodnews.com/story.php?news_id=11092

These poor creatures live in a feces dust/ ammonia  atmosphere which I could not tolerate for 5 minutes on my one visit. The facilities are described by Johns Hopkins University as “perfect pathogen incubators”. These chickens are fed arsenic appetite enhancer, and growth hormones and are kept sedentary so that they grow fat fast and as Temple Grandin states in the article they become so heavy that their legs won’t support their weight. When the Company sends in the catchers the real torture begins as these minimal wage workers take two or even three in each hand and thrust them into crates. Legs and wings are broken and some do not survive. The crates are stacked high on flat bed trucks and taken to the processing plant sometimes in extreme weather conditions. I often wondered if enough air gets to the inside crates to allow these creatures to breathe. There is no food or water. At the plant they are again picked up by their feet painfully shackled and hung on a conveyor. Remember these animals have empathy (see previous post) for each other. communicate with each other, and hear the painful screams of their terrorized brothers as they are conveyed to the throat cutting machine. Finally after 8 weeks of torture and terror the animal mercifully dies. CAFO producers should be required to put “Inhumane Treatment” labels on their products, which would more appropriately describes the total process.

The writer has not witnessed the catching or processing at a major producer but has seen the process first hand at several smaller slaughter houses and has heard the process described by other reliable sources. I can only hope the jury at this trial is given the opportunity to witness the whole decadent process.

Now also consider that each one of these CAFO facilities, based on the only two ever tested by MDE, is a hot spot of nitrogen contamination. Aquifers under these facilities were found to have nitrate readings as high as 200 times the normal background level of Delmarva aquifers. USGS assessment in circular 1228 is that 35% of Delmarva nitrogen pollution comes from the manure generated by these facilities.

What is the true cost of cheap chicken?

Your Thoughts on CAFO Animal Abuse?

March 30, 2011

Do all animals show empathy toward other animals and respond to human kindness. Please read this article in the London Telegraph by clicking on to the attached link to the farming section:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/agriculture/farming/

Now scroll down to “chickens are capable of love and lust”.Read the short article and the comments one from a farmer who said “what a bunch of bullcrap”

My direct experience:

I raised laying hens when I was a kid. My brood included white leghorns, Rhode Island Reds, and New Hampshire Reds. About 10 survived the transition from the hatchery at Easter time to the warmth of our kitchen thence to our former privy and tool shed.  As a kid of 10 they became delightful companions responding to me when I came to feed them with obvious affection and of course their eggs endeared them to the whole family.

Over the years I have had 6 dogs that all became great friends.

Last year our gatehouse tenant’s son took on the project of caring for a Goose who was winged by a hunter’s spread shot and could not fly. The goose now comes up to every human wanting a head rub obviously believing that all humans are his friend.

I have come to believe along with the author of this article that all animals even though there are obvious levels of intelligence communicate and empathize with their fellows and given the right circumstances will do the same with humans.I have come to believe that all animals have the basic right to humane treatment even in the face of public demand for cheap meat and dairy products.

Please review the CAFO Animal Abuse Archive on our blog.

I am curious to know what you think. Please comment to the post or by e-mail.

 

THE MEAT CONSUMPTION DISASTER

February 23, 2011

Recently there has been a backlash to government efforts to improve the health of the Nation. People are telling government to butt out that we know what we want to eat and if those food choices are destroying our health so be it, we have the god given right to eat what we want to eat. This attitude while understandable in a free society leaves the Country with a severe dilemma. We are the fattest and unhealthiest Country in the world. While heroic effort by our health industry have been effective in prolonging life it comes at increased suffering and high financial cost. Yes we have the right to eat whatever we want to eat thanks to our free system but how about the rights of others to clean air, water, and other common assets. Also everyone is paying equally for health insurance giving poor eaters a free ride.

Trees & Wildlife–When we hired our Master Plan Architect to design Trappe Landing Farm & Native Sanctuary (TLF&NS) 12 years ago, he described our farm and most farms as an ecological desert where every square foot of land that was not too wet or the slopes too steep were turned into corn fields to feed food animals. The result of this activity is that trees are eliminated, wildlife is eliminated, Every possible square foot is turned into corn production mostly to feed animals but recently to produce sugar and more recently to produce ethanol fuel additive. What’s wrong with this Industrial system? The basic problem is the inherent inefficiency. It takes 14 times more land to raise plant food to feed animals then eat the animals then it does to eat the plant food directly. So when we eat meat instead of plant food we are not only destroying our health (see archived WCRF and Harvard Nurses Study posts) we are destroying the nations trees, soil, wildlife and water assets

WATER–Corn is the most nutrient inefficient of all crops. It takes 3 times more nitrogen fertilizer to grow corn than any other crop. In normal rainfall year’s corn only uses 1/3 of the applied nitrogen much less in drought years. Most of the excess winds up in surface water where it stimulates algae, clouds the water and soaks up the oxygen essential for the life of water species. This activity has destroyed Chesapeake Bay, Pamlico Sound, The Gulf of Mexico and all rivers feeding these major Estuaries. This destruction of our precious water assets is directly related to the area of corn relative to the total farm field area.

SOIL–Historically grain farmers in the US have taken short cuts in soil management because the Country was topsoil rich particularly in the mid-west where topsoil was more prolific than any place in the world. Short cuts in soil management used to grow corn have destroyed half the Nations topsoil in 60 years. Changes in tillage equipment made 30 years ago have proven ineffective in stopping massive topsoil loss.

PATHOGENS–Most of the corn is fed to food animals in factory confinement facilities (see Factory maps) which produce 3 times more manure nationally than humans all of it untreated and contaminated with antibiotic resistant pathogens, high levels of phosphorous, growth hormones, arsenic and other feed additives which are put back onto the land adding to the nutrient pollution of the soil and pathogen contamination of our air and water resources.

ANIMAL ABUSE– The treatment of animals in Animal Factories is horrible described by Conservative writer Mathew Scully as the worst we can do to them, a complete negation of their life as an animal (see animal abuse archive).

HEALTH–As described in archived cancer and heart disease research posts, these diseases are directly related to meat consumption. The American Medical system including our pharmaceutical companies have developed pills and procedures which have until recently kept up to the health issues created by our corn based food system. But are these systems, which are extremely expensive, a long-term solution to basic unhealthy food consumption? I don’t think so. But perhaps our population growth will be the overriding factor dictating the amount of meat consumed because we simply do not have enough land to support the current inefficient meat production system and projected population growth.

There is only one reasonable solution. In the interest of your health, you’re children’s health, the restoration of Chesapeake Bay and other natural resources and our animal friends. CHANGE YOUR DIET. Stay tuned to our site for a critique of chefs and restaurants that are leaders in the movement toward a healthy and less destructive food system. We have found that eating plant food only can be an exciting eating experience. It just takes a little more time and patience.

The Conscious Cook-by Tal Ronnen

February 11, 2011

Tal Ronnen author of “the conscious cook” and most other vegan chefs who are perfecting meatless recipes get involved because of their abhorrence of cutting up animals for food. Most of them I am sure do not realize that modern industrial agriculture does much more than just abuse and ultimately kill animals, (See our animal abuse archive).Huge areas of the Countries land where slopes are not too steep or the land is not too wet have been turned into an ecological desert. The land has been ploughed hedgerow to hedgerow for decades if not centuries to grow corn mostly to feed food animals. It takes 14 times more land to plant corn to feed animals, and then eat the animals, as it does to consume plant food directly. The result is that wildlife cannot exist in vast areas of the Country. Also shortcuts in soil management have squandered our topsoil. Farmer and Soil Scientist Francis Thicke who operates a pastured dairy farm in Iowa estimates that Iowa has lost half its topsoil since industrial agriculture began. Excess fertilizer and tons of animal manure have been washed downstream destroying not only the Nations Rivers but also estuaries like the Gulf and Chesapeake Bay. Now we know that industrial methods used to fatten the animals in half the normal growing time creates a tender but extremely fat animal product. Testing at the U. of Colorado indicates that factory-produced hamburger has 7 times more saturated fat than pasture raised hamburger. In 2010 three cancer groups released studies that pointed to red meat (beef,pork,lamb,goat) and dairy as the primary cause of many cancers. Harvard University released studies that tied heart disease, diabetes and stroke to red meat consumption Tal Ronnen’s book “the conscious chef” in addition to its fine recipes also lists 8 upscale and 5 casual vegan restaurants. We are about to make our 3rd visit to Horizons in Philadelphia. We have had an evaluation “best in the west” of Millennium in SanFrancisco. We now know that Vegan food can be a superior eating experience much superior to conventional food. In addition the obvious health and environmental benefits make it our food of choice. We are now completely vegetarians but still eat eggs, and fish which makes us not quite vegan.