• The Sickness of Factory Farming

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    Sick and deformed chickens suffering inside a chicken factory farm
    You may be familiar with many of the problems associated with concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs. These “factory farm” operations are often criticized for the smell and water pollution caused by all that concentrated manure; the unnatural, grain-heavy diets the animals consume; and the stressful, unhealthy conditions in which the animals live. You may not be aware, however, of the health hazards such facilities pose for you and your family — even if you never buy any of the meat produced in this manner. Factory farms are breeding grounds for virulent disease, which can then spread to the wider community via many routes — not just in food, but also in water, the air, and the bodies of farmers, farm workers, and their families. Once those microbes become widespread in the environment, it’s very difficult to get rid of them.

    Horrific animal cruelty videos continue to emerge from factory farms despite many states attempting to impose “Ag-Gag” bills that essentially criminalize the revealing of criminal behavior at these facilities. One such video recently emerged in Ohio, and it led mega industrial food producer Tyson, Inc. to cancel their contract with the offending facility.

    We believe that “Ag-Gag” bills must be opposed on strictly moral and ethical grounds. But if one isn't concerned about the welfare of animals, then one still should be concerned about the health violations that easily could go on undetected if left completely in the dark.

    Even what has seen the light of day demonstrates an ongoing health hazard to a large part of the human population. The Infographic below offers a very clear picture of how the family farm has largely been turned into one big corporate cesspit of environmental and health implications that are now assaulting …

    Unfortunately, routine administration of antibiotics has the harmful effect of promoting the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Although the low dosage of antibiotics kills many bacteria, the stronger bacteria that survive can reproduce and pass their resistance to future generations. Since bacteria are able to reproduce in as little as 20 minutes, routine administration of antibiotics can induce the rapid development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which can spread directly to humans and animals. FWhen manure is spread onto fields or stored in manure lagoons, these bacteria can also contaminate waterways and groundwater. In fact, scientists have detected antibiotic-resistant bacteria in groundwater as far as 250 meters away from manure lagoons. F

    As antibiotic-resistant bacteria spread, medicines used to treat human diseases can become less effective, which poses a significant threat to public health. The Institute of Medicine estimates that antibiotic-resistant bacteria cause US health care costs to increase by four to five billion dollars each year.

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