SOC 2080 Course Reader 8.docx

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15 Mar 2012
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Factory Farming
-contract farmers usually have these
Who Benefits from Factory Farms?
-beef cattle feedlots have around 50,000-100,000 animals
-cost for production exceeds benefits
-almost ½ of all energy in American agriculture goes to livestock production for meat
Hidden Costs of Factory Farms
-government uses tax dollars to pay for animal feed, irrigation, pesticides, waste-management costs,
disease control
Animal as Production Units
-most milk-fed veal comes from calves raised in almost complete isolation
-live in narrow crates where they can’t walk around/lay down comfortably, fed a liquid diet w/antibiotics
to keep skin pale
-90% of eggs come from hens that live in small cages, no room to lie down/stretch wings
-start to peck each other, sometimes to death & to stop this, farmers remove beaks
-many drugs/chemicals needed to ward off disease
-chickens for meat have gone crazy and bash themselves to death in hysteria
-starved for 30 hours before slaughter b/c farmers think that this food won’t be converted to meat and
is therefore a waste
-most pigs live in crates where they can’t turn around or walk
-pigs never go outside, become bored and eventually start to bite each other’s tails and hind ends
-solution to this is removing tails
-during transport, animals are supposed to have food, rest and water every 28 hours [too long of a
Disease and Drugs on Factory Farms
80% of all farm animals receive drug treatment
-poor nutrition is a major cause for cows to not re-breed or re-breed late
-lameness is common w/cows, they are overfed and have bones not strong enough to support the
-lack of sunlight also causes this
-immobility of laying hens causes osteoporosis
Manure as Hazardous Waste
-a costly environmental management hazard & indicator of bad farming practices and defunct
agricultural policy
-bacteria in feces can contaminate water and the seafood can therefore cause poisoning
-farmers have taken animals off the land thereby breaking the nutrient manure cycle
-pay more for chemical fertilizers to get rid of manure
-some farmers feed dried poultry manure to cattle
Animal and Human Hazards in the Slaughterhouse
-conditions in slaughterhouses are not safe/hygienic
-food poisoning occur due to contaminated meat from fecal bacteria
-ppl learn to accept poor treatment of animals
-stress causes animals to give less milk, lay fewer eggs and live longer
Mad Cow Disease and Animal Tankage
-some fertilizers contain animal tankage [non-fat residue of unusable and condemned parts of
livestock/poultry from slaughterhouse]
-animal tankage also fed to food animals [i.e. farmed shrimp, fish], used as a fertilizer