SOC 2080 Mar.15.docx

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15 Mar 2012

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Animal Welfare and Factory Farming
Evolution of Human=animal relationship
-aboriginal approach: respect, sustainability, animistic beliefs
-Greek, Judeo-Christian ethics and animals: inferior, subordinate to humans
-capitalistic era: animals as property, commodification of animals, factory system
-renewed ethics: Leopold and extending ethical treatment from humans to animals; re-evaluation of
intelligence, sentient qualities, etc.
Factory Farming: A Holocaust in the Animal Kingdom
-USA as the model
-beef cattle feed lots: 50-100k animals
-dairy cattle: 3-5k up to 10k
-chickens: 70-100k hens/farm
4-5 hens in space of 2 phone books
-animals brought together and fed on corn based meals to fatten them up
-some environmental costs:
inputs: water-1lb.pork= 430 gallons (1600 L)
1lb beef = 390 gallons
carbon footprint-large amounts of petroleum go into the production of beef
-animal and human health implications:
-inappropriate feed: gastric erosion from high energy corn feed [these animals not meant to eat
such large amounts of corn; meant to eat grass]
-chronic diarrhea-skin lesions/infection-tail
-amputations increasingly “normal” [removing tails, beaks]
-inhumane transport and housing conditions
-80,000 dead hogs/year
-4.37 million deaths of cattle and calves in ’91 – poor animal husbandry practices
-confined conditions=pharmaceutical dependency
-drugs: 1990 USDA survey-15% of samples of meat contained drugs they couldn’t identify
-animal disease: estimated to cost $17 billion
-pharmaceuticals one of highest input costs
-“non-therapeutic” use of antibiotics is endemic: beef, poultry, swine
-continuous human ingestion
-overuse of antibiotics: 31 million pounds used annually-1/2 goes to farm animals
-evidence of antibiotic resistant bacteria near pig operations
-threat of human resistance to entire groups of antibiotics [i.e. fluoroquinalones] b/c of overdose in
animal feed
-Canadian Medical Association: calls for end to non-therapeutic use of antibiotics [i.e. as growth
stimulators] in chicken and pork products
-“The most promiscuous threat may be the spread of antibiotic resistance by foodborne organisms, b/c
of the promiscuous use of sub therapeutic doses of antibiotics in food
-food borne pathogenic bacteria risks: heightened by confinement farming
-a serious disease can result from Escherichia coli, campylobacter jejuni, clostridium perfringens,
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