The Ethics Of Factory Farming

I am exploring the topic of factory farming. A factory farm raises large quantities of livestock in confined spaces for maximum profit. The livestock are treated with hormones and antibiotics to prevent disease and maximize their growth. Farm factories use feedlots to feed livestock grain to cause quicker weight gain prior to slaughter. The antibiotics are causing antibiotic resistant bacteria that is finding its way into meat causing health issues that will be untreatable.

Farm sanctuary’s’ website makes the claim that growth hormones used have been shown to increase the risk of breast, prostate, and colon cancer in beef consumers. (site work below) Is the treatment of mass quantities of livestock used for human consumption in factory farms safe, ethical and humane? I am going to explore the farmer’s, the consumer’s, and the opposition views on factory farms. A factory farmer provides jobs to the community and economic stimulation.

Small farms are unable to keep up with production to supply the growing population. Factory farms are able to provide large amounts of food for society at an affordable price in a shorter amount of time. Their farms are profitable due to livestock raised in confinement requiring less space and quickly fattened in feed lots. Livestock is fed feed with antibiotics to make them gain weight faster. The amount of antibiotics is not regulated. Drug companies do not provide how much antibiotics is in the feed. It is impossible to find out how much of antibiotics the livestock is receiving.

Bill Haw is a CEO of a factory farm in Kansas City. His opinion is that feedlots are a humane place for cattle. He contends that animals are better fed, sheltered, nourished and watched daily for health problems. He states that “slaughterhouses are a necessary and highly efficient process. Animals come there to die, to be eviscerated, to be decapitated, to be de-hided. Those are very violent, bloody, dehumanizing and difficult things to watch. ” (sited work in yellow) Farmers work with veterinarians to ensure health of animals. Farmers know when their animals are less stressed they are healthier.

Healthier animals do bring in more profit. We are a nation of meat eaters and that meat needs to be farmed. Farmers are suppling what consumers demand. Consumers of meat have a choice to buy and eat meat. Meat is a natural part of a balanced diet. Meat is a key source of protein, it is rich in vitamins and minerals. Consumers care about taste, price, and convenience. Many people do not want to think or want to care where their meat comes from. In the past consumers did not know where the food in grocery stores come from.

Labeling is misleading and confusing. Today more consumers want to know where their food comes from, what it was fed, injections given, and how the animals were treated. Since 2009 meat was labeled with the country of origin label (COOL). In 2015 the country of origin label act was repealed for beef and pork. (site in purple or not? ) The COOL act violated the World Trade Organizations agreement. Mexico and Canada were going to impose high tariffs that would have been passed on to the consumer. It was a smart move to repeal the act to keep the cost of meat affordable.

There is no way to tell where your meat comes from now unless they voluntarily put the information on the label. Consumers say they are concerned with the humane treatment of animals. If they researched factory farms they would be appalled at the treatment of animals but they will forget or push those thoughts aside. Consumers care about animal welfare but not enough to stop their enjoyment of eating them.

What is the governments views on factory farms? There are no federal laws that protect against animal cruelty or set humane care standards in factory farms. Most states exempt farms from animal cruelty laws. In 1958 the Humane Method for slaughter Act was passed. It states that in the case of cattle, calves, horses, mules, sheep, swine, and other livestock, all animals are rendered insensible to pain by a single blow or gunshot or an electrical, chemical or other means that is rapid and effective, before being shackled, hoisted, thrown, cast, or cut.

The use of a single blow by gunshot or a captive bolt(a bolt driven in to animals brain then the bolt is retracted)does not mean that it will be successful in rendering the animal insensible to pain. Slaughter ritual is exempt from this act; the throats can be cut prior to rendering the animal insensible to pain. The penalties for violations range from a written warning, misdemeanor, or a fine. The humane act does not apply to poultry or fish.

Through sub-agency programs, the USDA oversees food production laws. However, there are no federal laws that set humane care standards for animals in factory farms. People choose not to buy and eat meat. Some people are against the consumption of livestock due to the inhumane way animals are farmed and slaughtered. In a Portuguese YouTube video there is a butcher in a grocery store with a sign that says pork grinder. People have no problem coming up and sampling the pork.

He grabs a piglet, places it in the grinder, turns the handle and sausage links comes out. People are shocked, horrified, and disgusted. Even though this is a prank video it shows that people really don’t want to know where their food comes from. Factory farms are lucrative business for farmers, at the cost of animal lives. If people wanted to know where their food came from they might reconsider their choices. If you had to look into the eyes of livestock and kill for your meal, you might not be able to. People are against cruelty of animals and are against the overcrowding of factory farms.

Even if it is a local farm, free range farm, or organic farm the end result is still the same, the animal ends up being slaughtered. Factory farming is necessary to feed the growing population. Small farms are unable to keep up with the demand of the consumers. The feed lots and slaughterhouses are inhumane. Thousands of animals are packed into warehouse like barns with little area to move. Legally farmers can label their products cage free, free roaming, and humane farms. Labels are deceptive, misleading, and play on emotions to get the consumer to not feel guilty about their consumption.