Archive for the ‘Pathogens’ Category

Our Pink Slime Food System

April 12, 2012

Finally one small aspect of our failed Industrial Food Production System has gotten some attention as the Wall Street Journal, the Nations leading business publication, the NY Times and others began reporting on “Pink Slime”. The Industry formerly used the meat scraps ligaments, bone particles, etc. left after butchering for dog food. Some time in the mid two thousands the industry with USDA approval began  high speed blending of this material for use as a cheap hamburger filler. Among other advantages was the reduction in cost to the Federal school lunch program by 3 cents a pound. They also added ammonia hydroxide to kill the e-coli, which was becoming an increased Public Health risk. The e-coli bacteria develop as a result of feeding corn in lieu of grass to cattle and destroying their rumen’s natural digestive ability to kill bacteria. Ground meat is particularly vulnerable to extensive contamination because the e-coli on the surface become mixed throughout. The mixture was dubbed pink slime by employees because of its appearance. Tyson’s CEO said the controversy is hurting beef sales but he thought it to be a short-term event. History suggests he is right.

Since 2009 the three major world cancer organizations have been reporting a strong connection between high corn fed red meat consumption and both cancer and heart disease without any significant affect on meat sales. For decades environmental groups have been reporting the connection between corn production used primarily for feeding farm animals and the destruction of our soil and water resources including the Chesapeake Bay without any adverse effect on meat sales.

In a few weeks grain farmers will again start the yearly cycle of destruction by tilling vast acres and applying 3 times more fertilizer to corn than it can utilize to produce corn the raw material for sugar and meat. The consumed volume of sugar is primarily responsible for our obesity and diabetes epidemics and the consumed volume of red meat both beef and pork is the primary cause of heart disease and cancer. The tillage and the excess fertilizer are primarily responsible for massive erosion and the nutrient and sediment contamination of our rivers and estuaries including the Chesapeake Bay. This cycle of destruction receives modest attention and certainly has not affected meat sales. What is it about Pink Slime that has raised such a public outcry and will it cause changes in the way we produce food? History indicates that it will be a two-week event as the Industry expects.


Scientist Debate Food System

September 23, 2011



Ken Cassman- Department Head Agronomy and Soils University of Nebraska

Don Boesch- President of The University of Maryland’s Horns Point Environmental Lab.

Dean Hively- USDA ARS Research Scientist

Tom Fisher- Horn Point Scientist and 25 year monitor of the Choptank watershed

Francis Thicke- Author, Iowa organic pasture dairy farmer and soils scientist

Russell Brinsfield- President of the University of Maryland’s Wye Agro-Ecology Center

Walter Willett- Nutrition Dept. Head- leader of Harvard’s long-term epidemiology studies


DONALD KERSTETTER- Trappe Landing Farm & Native Sanctuary

CONCLUSIONS: Submitted by DRK for comments

It is important that we reach a consensus on the actions required to stop the nutrient contamination of rivers and estuaries and the excess production of food responsible for causing our epidemics of cancer, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. This year 2011 we experienced near record oxygen dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico and the Chesapeake Bay caused mostly by application of fertilizer particularly to corn and a glut of CAFO manure. We also experienced record sediment intrusion from unprotected farm fields into Chesapeake Bay. Also much has been written about the poor health of Americans and out of control health care cost. It is important that the scientific community including nutritionists and environmental scientists work together to find a strategy that works for all including the farmer who starts the food growing process in May of each year. The solution would be much simpler if we left out nutrition and the health of the American people. As Ken Cassman of the University of Nebraska points out improvement in nitrogen uptake efficiency of 20% has been achieved and with more research there is promise of further improvement. Cover crops will help uptake of excess nitrogen and will also help mitigate erosion and sediment intrusion. But as Walter Willett points out these environmental improvements will not solve the health issues which require a substantial reduction in corn based products including sugar and red meat and increases in fruits and vegetable consumption. A healthy American diet is outlined by Harvard’s “Healthy Plate” shown on their website This provides further definition of the USDA’s “My Plate” initiative. I hope we can all agree that healthy food produced in a way that protects the environment is the goal. Ken Cassman expressed concern that developing Countries will fill the void if the U.S. reduces its corn output and they will have less concern for world ecology, I believe many of these countries are equally concerned and will follow our lead. I base this opinion on the active involvement of China India and other developing Countries who our part of the World cancer study. This dialog points to the need for environmental and health scientists to work together to reach conclusions and recommendations. In my view the following mandatory actions implemented worldwide are required based on these discussions. May I have your comments please!

  1. Reduce nitrogen application rates to corn and beans by 50%.
  2. Require winter cover crops on all tilled farm fields
  3. Require the pyrolysis of all CAFO manure
  4. Ban the use of antibiotics and growth hormones in CAFO production
  5. *Require a representative of the Humane Society to monitor all CAFO and slaughterhouse operations to verify humane treatment of food animals.

*While we have not discussed #5, I believe that you would agree if you view a video of the horrible conditions in America’s CAFO’s and slaughterhouses. If you wish I will forward the video to you.

The primary objection to these Government actions will be corn yield loss. This will force farmers to seek revenues from higher value crops including a variety of vegetables, fruits and nuts. This will make these healthier products more available and help the USDA’s effort to increase consumption of these healthier foods as proposed by their “my plate “ initiative. Americans are suffering from an addiction to the very foods that are destroying their health. Demand for these unhealthy products will increase until the cost goes up which will happen as supply goes down and price goes up. The USDA must also implement an educational campaign to sell consumption of healthy food in addition to the 5 recommended actions. It has taken us decades to create this environmental and health disaster. It will likely take decades to correct.


I thank all who participated in this discussion.


The Entitlement Dilema

August 27, 2011

We now see more and more evidence of the failure of Central Planning as proposed by Karl Marx. The failure of the Soviet Union is the outstanding National example. But the failure is now also apparent in many of the social entitlement programs started in the 1930’s. One outstanding regulatory failure is U.S. agriculture and food production.  The inherent diversity provided by small farms who produced food was destroyed by the USDA under Earl Butz in the 1960’s. Mr. Butz decided to subsidize grain farming which produces raw material for sugar, refined grains, and meat. Now 50 years later we have a food production system dominated by unhealthy food widely recognized as responsible for our epidemics of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and pathogen exposure plus a production system based on overuse of chemicals and short cuts in soil management and animal manure management responsible for the destruction of our soil, our rivers, and our estuaries including the Chesapeake Bay. Every regulation initiated by Government creates an entitlement constituency that invariably becomes all-powerful. The ultimate result of failed social entitlements is now evidenced by street violence in England, Grease, and Wisconsin. In the case of agriculture the American Farm Bureau, the Fertilizer Institute and the Corn Growers Association supported by captive educational institutions, have successfully resisted all efforts for change suggested by the Gulf Hypoxia Task Force, environmental organizations, schools of public health, and now the USDA’s “My Plate” healthy food initiative. We must learn from these entitlement disasters and establish an automatic sunset on every regulation. We must also elect leaders who are strong enough to overcome the pressure of special interest entitlement support groups in the public interest.

When Food Kills

June 24, 2011

This NY Times article by Nicholas Kristof relates the risk here in the U.S. based on what has been learned about the German outbreak of  E. Coli which killed 31 people. The statement that 45% of workers in the hog industry have MRSA is frightening because this deadly disease known as the “hospital pathogen” is commonly transmitted from patient to medical facility thence to other patients. We eat mostly organic vegetables for many good reasons but many times it is the use of infected manure not properly composted that can spread the virus. The use of distillers grain, a byproduct of ethanol production, in animal feed has increased E. Coli by as much as 30%. Bills banning the regular use of antibiotics are pending in both Houses of Congress. I just signed a petition again asking Congress to pass this legislation

USDA Abdicates Regulatory Responsibility

June 13, 2011

The USDA is failing to meet its regulatory responsibility in 3 areas that must be quite obvious to its scientists and professional staff. Someday this lack of regulatory responsibility will be the subject of a National debate as it is currently in the financial industry.

SOIL EROSION- USDA/SARE recently republished what might be considered a bible of soil management by Magdoff/Van Es. In the chapters on crop rotation and soil erosion the authors state that the lack of live roots in the ground during heavy rain events is the primary cause of massive soil erosion such as occurred in the Midwest in the Spring of 2008. The most dominant crop rotation is a 2-crop corn and soybean rotation which has live roots in the ground only 32% of the time. Increasing to a 3 crop rotation produces live roots 76% of the time. USDA must mandate an immediate increase preferably to a 3 crop rotation plus mandatory winter cover when heavy rains are likely.

The Gulf Hypoxia Report published by leading US scientific organizations in 2000 recommended a 20% reduction in commercial fertilizer application rates. Hypoxia in major Estuaries including Chesapeake Bay continues to increase as reported in the PBS Gulf update and by EPA nutrient load charts (see our blog under pages). USDA must immediately reduce current fertilizer application rates by at least 25%.

Farm animal waste from CAFO chickens, hogs and cattle must be managed as recommended in 2007 by the Pew Commission, an Industry Commission chaired by former Kansas Governnor and dairy farmer George Carlin. USDA has ignored this report and others which point to the massive damage caused by these facilities.

The excuse for lack of regulation of an out of control industry appears to be the higher cost and reduction of corn based products. The following is the opinion of Walter Willett head of the Nations largest academic nutrition department at Harvard University.
“Don – you will find common ground among nutritionists on the harmful effects of very cheap and large amounts of starch from subsidized corn in the US diet, which is the substrate for high fructose corn syrup, and very cheap sugary beverages and feedlot pork and red meat. While not the only contributors these are fueling our epidemics of obesity and diabetes.”

Rather than coming to grips with its failure to regulate the abuses of the Agricultural Industry the USDA continues to ask the taxpayer to fund these abuses by spending our tax money for grain subsidies. The 2012 farm bill is the time for USDA to correct this terrible and destructive injustice.

How Untreatable Infection Gets to Your Kitchen

April 18, 2011

According to a study (clik here) released last week researchers have found high levels of antibiotic resistant staph bacteria in grocery store meat exposing people to really bad skin and respiratory infections nationwide.

The most significant findings from the study aren’t the level of bacteria they found, but rather how the bacteria in the meat was becoming strongly resistant to antibiotics farmers put in the feed to allow animals to survive the filthy conditions in CAFOs. Johns Hopkins’s scientists call these facilities “perfect pathogen incubators”.

This is one more reason to be very careful when you’re handling raw meat and poultry in the kitchen. You can cook away these bacteria. But the problem is when you bring in the raw product, you almost inevitably contaminate your kitchen and your hands with these bacteria, which are easily spread to other people and food.

Our recent tour of 8 restaurants in Talbot County revealed that all the meat came from CAFO’s. Is your restaurant aware of these issues or are they contaminating their cooks, their kitchens, and your food with antibiotic resistant staph bacteria?

Recent efforts by the Congress to eliminate antibiotics from CAFO feed has failed due to the power of the Agribusiness Lobby led by the American Farm Bureau, the Fertilizer Institute, The Corn Growers Association and the various meat producers. These are the same people who still fight the Gulf Task Force in efforts to restore the Gulf of Mexico and are currently suing the EPA to stop efforts to restore Chesapeake Bay. Is this lobby running the Country as they appear to run the State Of Maryland (see Gov. O’Malley post)? If so who is at fault the intimidator or those who allow themselves to be intimidated? Call your Congressman and ask him or her.

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.

Letter to Maryland Governor

March 7, 2011

Dear Governor O’Malley

The documentary King Corn focused on only a few of the unintended consequences known at that time several years ago, caused by hi-starch content corn including hi-fat content hamburger and corn based high fructose corn syrup. It also showed the attitude of The American Farm Bureau toward time-consuming obstructions to operating their large equipment. Most of these obstructions have been removed including the homesteads of many small farmers forced out of business, most of the trees, hedgerows and wetlands creating an ecological desert devoid of wildlife. At the conclusion of the documentary the farmer Rich Johnson, who seemed like a nice guy, explained, “ we only focus on yield”.

You have made several proposals during your tenure as Governor which could be helpful in saving our natural resources and our health including septic system treatment, permitting chicken CAFO’s, and planting 20,000 acres of trees. After pushback by representatives of the American Farm Bureau Federation you seem to be backing off these proposals. Also the State’s response to the EPA-TMDL mandated reductions in nitrogen, phosphorous and sediment was a missed opportunity to make real pollution causing reductions and seems to me to be further pandering to the American Farm Bureau. In 2000 the American Farm Bureau was the leader against President Clinton’s effort to reduce fertilizer pollution of the Gulf of Mexico, thus reducing the State of New Jersey size oxygen dead-zone and massive water species destruction. The dead-zone continues to grow in size most years.

The Farm Bureau spokesman did make a good recommendation, which was to look at the full picture of land use before you decide that planting trees is a bad idea. This study should look at the full picture including farm field land use efficiency, soil, water, and air pollution and the health impact of pathogens, atrazine, ammonia, growth hormones antibiotics, arsenic and the food itself. There is more to this picture than just yield. The overall health of people and our natural resources in America should not be the sole purview of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

TOM HORTON & DRK-The Tragic Story of Corn

January 17, 2011

Tom Horton’s excellent article which appeared in Chesapeake Bay Magazine in November of 2010 is the start of the corn story but the full story includes not only the loss of Chesapeake Bay, the loss of the Nations Health, but how our public health and safety is being corrupted on a massive scale.


It was a bitter pill to swallow last year when Jenny and I had to give up our four-stroke Honda outboard with less than 200 hours on it. The engines carburetor simply could not handle the gunk build–caused by ethanol– that is now legally required in all but a few Counties around the Bay.                                                             I was doubly griped because of the source of the ethanol, which is a far bigger problem than the ubiquitous gasoline additive itself. I speak of corn. It’s a pretty sight to see it growing across Chesapeake region farms and to watch each fall as combine’s shell it into mountains of grain. And corn based ethanol is certainly safer than what it replaced—MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether), a gas additive that is now banned as a suspected carcinogen.

But those who work with water quality around the Bay and coastal waters worldwide know the dark side of corn all too well. As we currently grow it corn is horribly polluting. To realize the high yielding potential of modern corn hybrids, growers must supply it with lots of nitrogen fertilizer. Even when farmers supply it with only what their crops needs, corn can only utilize about 37% of the applied nitrogen—even less in drought conditions. The rest ends up in ground water where substantial amounts eventually seep into the Chesapeake Bay.

In the Bay nitrogen grows excessive algae, which decompose and sucks life-giving oxygen from the water. The dead algae also cloud the water, shading out vital light from underwater grasses that provide habitat for a variety of aquatic life. The two million or so acres of corn grown across the Chesapeake’s six-state watershed are major reason agriculture remains the single largest source of water pollution for the Bay. The story’s the same for the Gulf of Mexico. Its oxygen deprived “dead zone” is the size of the State of New Jersey some years, courtesy of the nitrogen that washes down the Mississippi from the Midwest, which grows the bulk of the Nations 85 to 90 million acres of corn.

Soaring demand for corn to supply government subsidized ethanol plants a few years ago caused Bay region farmers to convert about 200,000 acres of land from mostly low polluting uses like hay and pasture, to additional corn acreage, adding millions of pounds of pollution to the Bay. While ethanol demand has since slumped and corn acreage decreased slightly, ethanol is here to stay, taking a quarter of the US corn crop, a force for keeping more land in corn.

You could have hardly concocted a worse response than corn based ethanol to start weaning the US from dependence on petroleum (ethanol is usually 10% of the fuel in your tank nowadays). Making the additive from corn is so energy intensive that we get at best, about 25% more energy from a gallon than the energy it takes to produce it. And a gallon of ethanol powers a car about two-thirds as far as a gallon of pure gasoline.

It is considerably more efficient to refine ethanol from sugar cane, which is grown across the southern U.S.; but for that crop the Federal subsidies favor sugar not ethanol, so cane growers are not inclined to get into the fuel business.

A byproduct of making corn ethanol called distillers grains is now being widely fed to dairy cattle in the Chesapeake region. This makes their manure already a pollution problem even more potent (higher in phosphorous which stimulates algal growth in the water)

We need to phase out subsidies for making ethanol from corn and step up research on how to make it from other less polluting plants like switchgrass. Even more important, we can start right now growing corn and other polluting crops like soybeans in less polluting ways. A proven solution is to follow the fall harvest with winter “cover crops”— grains like oats and rye grown solely to suck up excess nitrogen before it runs into the waterways. Maryland farmers with financial assistance from State taxpayers are putting large acreages into winter cover crops. Virginia and Pennsylvania are doing far less, as are Midwestern farm states.

Meanwhile, back on the boat, we’ve been doing ok with ethanol in our new outboard a Mercury direct injection two stroke. But don’t let anyone tell you that this is a good route to energy independence. Corn, The way we grow most of it now, only looks green.                      Tom Horton

Website manager Don Kerstetter picks up the story from here: I tried to find the current uses of field corn from USDA. They must know since they keep meticulous records on everything but they would not tell me. A paper on biofuels published by Great Lakes Bioenergy research Center in September 2010 stated that 80% of total corn production in the U.S. is used to feed animals and most of it goes to feed ruminants (cattle).

Scientists including pasture farmer Francis Thicke reporting in his excellent book “A New Vision for Iowa Agriculture”, generally believe that the U. S. has lost half its topsoil since Industrial Agriculture began following World War II. The USDA recommends a minimum 3-crop system for row crops plus annual winter cover crops. Grain farmers use 2 crop rotations at best and many use mono-cropping in the Midwest. The National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), which is responsible for preserving the nations topsoil, allows grain farmers to take short cuts in soil management on a massive scale in the U.S. where bad soil management practices have been institutionalized by grain farmers while many in mainstream academia with knowledge of good soil management practice raise no objection.             The Thousands of Concentrated Animal Feed Operation (CAFO) facilities shown on our Factory Farm Map are conceptually incompatible with public safety and public health, and are contaminating aquifers with nitrate, soil and air with deadly antibiotic resistant pathogens and contaminating the food animals themselves with diseases.  Since The Johns Hopkins School of public health published the Pew Commission report on farm animals in 2008 they have been advocates for major changes most ignored by local State and Federal officials. They describe these facilities as perfect pathogen incubators. Please read their report (our reference #21). These facilities produce 3 times more manure all more dangerous because of antibiotic resistant pathogens than human manure without any treatment requirement.

When these facilities first started farmers were offered reasonable contracts. Now that farmers have mortgaged themselves to build the facilities the Integrators with little competition have reduced payments and forced upgrades leaving farmers stuck with bad economics which has adversly affected the economics of local communities. A glance at the National Factory Farm Map confirms that both dairy and beef cattle dominate land use but in some areas including areas of Iowa, North Carolina and Pennsylvania Hogs are dominant. But the environmental and economic destruction of rural communities is just the tip of the iceburg.                                       Studies published in 2010 by the World Cancer Research Fund and The American Institute for Cancer Research show that red meat (beef, pork, lamb, and goat) is a primary cause for increased cancer risk. Not only is it a convincing increased risk for colorectum cancer but suggestive for 6 other cancer types.                           Also in 2010 Harvard University published the first results of the Nurses Health Study involving 84,000 nurses, which began in1976. They also found that red meat was the major cause of Coronary Heart Disease. Harvard Universities’ Dr Walter Willett who was involved with both studies indicates that soon to be released studies on diabetes and stroke will show similar results. He also reports that other studies at Harvard show that adolescents and people in early adulthood are particularly vulnerable to red meat the dominant CAFO product. So we have an agriculture production system focused on meat and dairy which is taking shortcuts, causing the destruction of our most important natural resources, and also increasing the risk of our dominant diseases and escalating health care cost.

Does it make any sense to continue destroying our most important Natural Resources, and to systematically abuse our food animals (see our animal abuse post) to produce products that are this destructive? By directly subsidizing corn, by failure to enforce its own soil management guidelines, by failure to enforce current public safety laws and animal abuse laws  government at all levels is the great enabler of this flawed system                                                                                                              But there is reason for hope. Many people particularly young people are increasingly attracted to Vegan restaurants and vegan home cooking, not because of these issues but because the food is tastier, more satisfying, and exciting than animal based food. (see our post on Horizons restaurant in Philadelphia). There are two other advantages to eating a plant based diet:

1.The food is less expensive

2. It takes 14 times less land to eat the plant directly as opposed to having an animal eat the plant and then eating the animal. Our fast growing population will not have sufficient land to support this inefficient system.

ANIMAL FACTORIES- Anti-Nature? You Judge!

January 6, 2011

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.