Factory Farming Practices

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Industrial animal agriculture has brought us commercial milk (including in some cases organic milk) tainted with antibiotics, manure, pus cells as well as hormones. The US meat supply has been found to be contaminated with industrial pollutants, staph bacteria, drug residues, anabolic steroids, Ractopamine , copper, parasites, and antibiotics. The often stressfull, overcrowded, unhygienic conditions has led to widespread use of nontherapeutic antibiotics by farmers to prevent animals from getting sick and to increase their growth.  This injudicious abuse of miracle drugs leads to antibiotic resistant bacteria such as Clostridium difficile,  Yersinia, and MRSA that are too often found in retail meat. The FDA estimates 80% of available antimicrobial drugs are used for farm animals. Simply living in close proximity to industrial animal farms may increase susceptibility to encountering antibiotic resistant bacteria. This is evident in slaughterhouse employees and people growing up on animal farms.

Factory farmed chicken is often tainted with fecal residues as well as E. coli and arsenic. Foster Farms chicken may have infected and sickened more than 10,000 people due to this contamination. Millions of people are exposed to pathogens such as Salmonella and avian influenza each year.  More than one quarter of Salmonella found in retail chicken breasts were resistant to five or more different classes of antibiotic treatment drugs according to a 2013 FDA Retail Meat Report.  Antibiotic resistant E. coli from chicken has been linked to UTIs (bladder infections) in women. Even organic chicken is often infected with superbug bacteria. Eating outside of our own animal kingdom may ensure less exposure to these bugs.

Because of the way the animals are raised and genetically manipulated, the meat is also high in calories and fat. Factory farmed fish may also be contaminated with industrial toxins, artificial coloring, and possibly mad cow disease prions.

The FDA issued voluntary guidance to remove nontherapeutic antibiotics from farm animal production, however, it is non-binding and legally non-enforceable.  Unhealthy food is subsidized heavily to the tune of $10B.  Subsidies are often given to animal production instead of healthier options.

Topic summary contributed by Mary.


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