Factory Farming: Feast or Famine

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Factory Farming: Feast or Famine
J.R. Phillips
DeVry University

Throughout history, human beings have grouped themselves together in communities. The concept of communities offered two major benefits; first, defense against enemies that might threaten the community. And second, the ability to sustain a constant food source to subsist on year-round. The need for a constant food supply became a major factor in early farming practices (Pollan, 2006) through animal husbandry. The waste from the livestock was used as fertilizer for the other crops that were raised on the farm. These crops were utilized to feed the farmers, sell at market, as well as feed the livestock through the next winter. In this manner, there is a continuous lifecycle on the homestead. The overall mindset is different, first, I will feed my family, second try to make a profit, and third, I will try to keep livestock for the next year in order to grow my farm. When the production of beef became more about profit the respect and love for the land fell catastrophically to the wayside. Modern feedlot operations are creating environmental problems that will affect our country in the future, as well as health issues for consumers, which would to corrected by implementing strong regulations in the handling of feedlot waste and a mandated correction in the diet of the cattle. Modern Americans who have not been exposed to farm life have no concept of the origin of the meat they consume. When the need arises to prepare a meal they just go the supermarket where the meat issues would needed is conveniently packaged in nifty Styrofoam trays under shrink wrap. There are two very interesting dynamics here; first the thought of where that pork chop came from is disturbing, and so we don't think about it. Alternatively, we know where it came from and we are looking for the best quality that we can find for our family. Most Americans think that meat is magically inserted in those trays; this of course is not the case. A large number of food items that we consume are produced on factory farms. Chicken, pork, and beef are all produced on factory farms, unless you have a friend who owns land. The facilities used to raise these products are far more efficient than the family farm. The goal is the production, not the safety of the surrounding environment. For this journey, I will be delving into factory beef production; these facilities affect the local area. The result is that they pollute the air and the water in the surrounding communities. The environmental impact that feedlots have on the local environment is significant. These facilities have tainted well water in many areas. In Morrison, Wisconsin, for example, more than 100 water wells have been polluted by the runoff from dairy farms (Duhigg, 2009). The uncontrolled runoff from these farms introduced E. coli and Coliform bacteria to the water source for a multitude of families. In September, 2006 an E. coli breakout happened that was found to have originated in a spinach farm in San Bernardino County, California. This breakout affect was felt in twenty-six states. One of the issues that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cited as a potential contributing factor to the E. coli outbreak was the runoff from livestock areas into the cultivated fields, and the use of surface water for irrigation of crops. The investigation concluded that the surface water had in fact been contaminated by grazing livestock and contaminated the cultivated fields. The construction of the wells used for irrigation were improperly constructed, There was interaction between surface water and groundwater that had not be considered, and their direct use of surface water in the irrigation of cultivated crops (Gelting, 2006).This shows the extent of the damage the lack of control can have on unrelated entities to a farming operation if proper controls are not in place. This contamination could be responsible...
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