The agribusiness industry is solely about supply and demand. Factory farming is a big business in agriculture because it fulfills a customer’s basic need, which is food. The question is at what cost do animals and humans suffer for the money being made from factory farming. According to Smith (2019), “Like the vast majority of developed countries, the United States also lacks a comprehensive strategy to mitigate emissions from animal agriculture. Livestock is the number one source of methane emissions in this country and cattle are the main contributors in the livestock greenhouse’s gas emissions.” (29-30) Factory farming provides food, but is it safe, is it ethical, and is it moral?
The History of Industrial Farming:
Agriculture has a rich history because of the necessity to cultivate and grow food. The need for human consumption on a daily basis was not widely studied during the Scientific Revolution. According to the Roundtable, Fitzgerald (2018) tells us. “Scholars of the Scientific Revolution have said a great deal about the importance of artisans and mechanics in the production of natural knowledge, but much less about the rural activities of farmers, gardeners, and noble landowners.” (576) Pawley (2018) reiterates, “To understand what the history of science has to offer an agricultural history of science, it helps to think about how complex farms are as objects of knowledge. Farmers perform any number of tasks to control biological processes. They spread manure to perpetuate invisible cycles of fertility; they build pens and stalls to defuse the instant of cattle to stampede or encourage the instinct of ewes to mother; glaring over fields they out prickly or poisonous weeds or check leaves for signs of blight; they track shifts in the weather; select pigs to be killed or to pass on their genes, and weigh the risks of toxins, all the while trying to drag an agroecosystem toward profit.” (573) In short, the hard labor on farms before technology, the farmers needed a way to do tasks more conveniently, and using the animals to their advantage. Thus, more chemicals began to be involved making crops and animals being raised at a faster rate.
What is Factory Farming?
Factory farming is a type of agriculture that allows local and out-of-state farmers to raise their own crops in hot houses, process their chickens in factories and their livestock in slaughterhouses. For example, the live chickens are driven to a corporate factory where they are killed, plucked, deboned, and packaged. Then these animals are sent to supermarkets and vendors. Cows are sent to the slaughter where their meat is processed and sold as well.
Factory farming is run efficiently each day because corporations pay hourly wages to workers on an assembly line. Each worker has to perform a different task in a fast-paced environment. The farmers who raise the chickens and other livestock are likely given a quota or set a number of animals to raise they have to complete. The farmers have to meet each time there is an animal drop-off. Most fruits and vegetables are sold in bunches, but produced in hot houses and are sprayed with insecticides. They are sold to supermarkets and wholesale markets. In the example of the chickens, they have to be raised fast in order to get them ready to be distributed. So they are given GMOs to make them weigh heavier.
What Do Activists and Vegans Say About Factory Farming?
Many animal advocates, activists, vegetarians, and vegans believe factory farming is wrong. They think it is immoral the way animals are treated for food and profit, and what the animals go through for consumption. Fruits and vegetables are also given insecticides then sold. This is why most vegans eat organic fruits and vegetables, free of GMOs. The health and well-being of humans is overlooked. This is why vegans support a lifestyle of plant-based foods, however, since insecticides is used, who is to blame for the illnesses caused after eating it. Animal advocates believe this is why there are so many food borne illnesses because of what is put in the food. Many illnesses like cancer and other diseases stem from what people consume each day. As well as, what is not being driven out of the body as waste, but what is left in the body.
Vegans prefer a sole plant-based organic diet. How do vegans educate people about switching to organic foods? Because in factory farming everything is more than likely left in the crops and the meats, how do vegans change the agribusiness and production of how foods are prepared in factory farming?
The Health and Food Effects:
Money is the cause for many business endeavors. Even the exploitation, poisoning, and detrimental way animals and plants are used to produce food, there is no way of knowing if the food you are eating is safe. You have to test whether a certain food will agree with you. You have to ask yourself, will this food give me cancer, obesity, high blood pressure, a stroke or diabetes? Because of the cause of many food borne illnesses and poor eating habits, the main thing one can do is counteract what you are eating is to pay attention to what you eat. Research ingredients, become a vegetarian or vegan for physical health concerns, by organic fruits and vegetables, and exercise. Change the stores you shop at. These examples all allow you as a consumer to take a stand on what your body responds to. If your body responds favorably, watch your portion control and if your body does not respond favorably to a food don’t eat it. Avoid ingredients in foods that are counter intuitive and bad for your health and your body. Many illnesses like Parkinson’s Disease have been linked to insecticides being sprayed on plants to help plants grow and to kill weeds causes cancer also. Aside from food borne illnesses, the aforementioned diseases have been detrimental to the health of many people most times causing their deaths. Factory farming harms the animals because they consume the vegetated fruits being sprayed with herbicide so we consume some of those animals like pigs, wild game, and produce, this affects us overall. In order to protect your body, wash your meats, vegetables, and fruits before cooking it and make sure your food is well-done.
The Environmental Effects of Factory Farming:
The environment is hardest hit when it comes to factory farming. The climate changes because of the gases and poison in the air is what animals consume when they are injected or fed Climate change and environment shows over time the science suggests that to make our lives convenient to process food quickly we will reap consequences. The environment effects are climate change, global warming, animals are carrying diseases, the water is contaminated with bacteria, and food is constantly being filled with dyes to somehow preserve freshness. So how can we combat the corporations need to constantly tamper with animals and food? According to Smith (2019), “Increasing numbers of scientists warn that in order to avoid surprising the internationally—recognized two-degree temperature rise threshold, nations must make significant short-term reductions in all greenhouse gas emissions, with a primary focus on reducing methane emissions from livestock production.” (29)
The Economic Effects of Factory Farming:
If more consumers would come together to form an open discussion about the effects factory farming has on eating at fast food restaurants where the food is processed or eating hormonal chicken, then it would really make factory farmers and corporations nervous. The way to hit a corporation hard is in their pockets. If all information was exposed in the treatment of animals, the chemicals treating plants, vegetables and fruits for food it would give farmers and corporations something to think about. If all those who are activists would take a stand for what is right this would be phenomenal for the health of everyone. A new positive economic effect is the implementation of plant-based burgers at some well-known fast food restaurants. There is also a new trend of more people becoming vegans and vegetarians.
The Morals and Ethics of Factory Farming:
The importance of knowing morally right from wrong allows anyone in any profession to walk away if causing someone or something harm. An animal is not a human, but God gave man dominion over them. The ethical dilemma comes in because our own natural inclinations is to protect the earth. Everyone is not an advocate of animals, but those who are care about what happens to them. As humans we need food but animals are sometimes treated brutally and cruel especially those who take pleasure in it. This is where a moral line is crossed. But there are people who respect the life of humans and animals as well.
The main purpose for factory farming is to provide food for humans. However, there is a way you do everything a right way and a wrong way. A right way is to not inject animals with poison. A right way is to raise animals right.. Second, respect the ideas vegans have against factory farming and meet a middle ground. Educate and advocate for animal rights and how they are treated. Develop a plant-based diet, incorporate veggies Instead of red meats. Help others see how to live a healthy life style is key to stop buying into the factory farms products.
Factory farmers have to take into account what is being done to animals and corporations don’t fully realize the damage being done to animals and humans. The prevention of food borne illnesses and other food bacteria is stated by O’Brien (1997) as, “Advice on kitchen hygiene and thorough cooking is clearly provibg inadequate in the face of contamination, “upstream” of retail outlets, this is manifest in huge in the evidence of food poisoning.”
The disadvantage of factory farming is that the rural activities have moved away from loving the land and animals to just wanting to meet a quota. Vendors and other businesses depend on farmers to deliver on time. No matter what the farmer has compromised what it means to live off the land. The early techniques gave the unnoticed farmer a sense of accomplishment. Until the use of chemicals and the advent of factory farming, agriculture helped the community and provided a sense of family. However, now there are consequences to the use of deadly chemicals with the animals and within the soil.
Deborah Fitzgerald, Lisa Onaga, Emily Pawley, Denise Phillips & Jeremy Vetter. (2018). Roundtable: Agricultural History and the History of Science. Agricultural History, 92(4) 569-604.
O’Brien, T. (1997). Factory Farming and Human Health. A Compassion in World Farming Trust.
Smith, T. J. (2019). Corn, Cows, and Climate Change: How Federal Agriculture Subsidies Enable Factory Farming and Exacerbate US Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Wash, J. Envtl. L. & Pol, 4, 9, 26.