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Factory Farming—Our Health—Our Environment

Modern factory farming techniques cause unnecessary suffering of animals. Meat-packing and processing plants workers face some of the poorest working conditions. Animal agriculture causes high level of deforestation, water consumption, soil contamination and air pollution. Provokare Presentations will inspire you to make changes and provide alternative ethical choices.


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Factory Farming—Our Health—Our Environment

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Factory Farming—Our Health—Our Environment

Contents Title

Page Number

Meet your meat

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Impact

5

Meat Production on the rise

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Economic growth boosts demand

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Land Degradation

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Atmosphere and climate

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World footprint

10

Biodiversity

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Water

12

Average virtual water usage

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Factory farming - Misery on your plate

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Unnecessary suffering—Cattle

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Happy cows are from...

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Veal calves

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Pigs

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Chicken and Turkey

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Battery Hens

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Eating for good health

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Your health—Dairy foods

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Your health—Toxins in your food

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Slaughterhouse: Deplorable labor conditions

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Slaughterhouse: Too fast - To many hazards

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Slaughterhouse: Unsanitary and unfair

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What you can do

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Vegetarian & Vegan life for health

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Back to traditional farms

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Your world—Your life—Your choice

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Books—Recommended reading

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Useful links

32 Booklet Copyrights: Provokare Presentations 3


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Factory Farming—Our Health—Our Environment

Meet your meat On ecological and economic grounds alone, meat-eating is now a looming problem for humankind. While we sit down to enjoy our daily portion of meat, we are contributing to major environmental degradation, unnecessary animal suffering and affecting our health by the food we eat. While some farmers are already changing by going back to more traditional methods of farm animal production, consumers need to rethink their relationship with meat in their diets in order to keep it on the menus in fine restaurants as well as on the plates of the people in the developing world. As necessary as it is to pursue political reforms, it is always slower and more difficult to achieve than changes in our own lives, but we can influence the future by accepting personal responsibility for the way we live and the products we consume. As individuals, and parts of a whole, we can learn to change our ways and live with greater harmony in a clean, healthy, compassionate and sustainable world, with respect to animals, nature and all human beings.

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Factory Farming—Our Health—Our Environment

Impact Our Environment Livestock are major water users and polluters. The irrigation of feed crops for cattle accounts to nearly 8 percent of global human water use. Compounding the contamination of rivers and streams form the runoff of manure from feedlots, livestock waste can contaminate soil and groundwater with a cocktail of hormones, pesticides, and antibiotics used in factory farms. Livestock are responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions which is higher than the share contributed by cars and SUVs. It also accounts for 37 percent of emissions of methane, which has more than 20 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide, and for 65 percent of nitrous oxide, another powerful greenhouse gas, most of which comes from manure. Livestock are the “single largest anthropogenic user of land”. Meat production accounts for 70 percent of all agricultural land and 30 percent of the land surface of the planet. In the Amazon, 70 percent of previously forested land is occupied by pastures for cattle causing erosion and biodiversity loss

Animals

Farmed animals are no less intelligent or capable of feeling pain than are the dogs and cats we cherish as our companions. They are inquisitive, interesting individuals who value their lives, solve problems, experience fear and pain.

Our Health The meat, dairy products, fish, and eggs on supermarket shelves today are loaded with bacteria, antibiotics, dioxins, hormones, and a host of other toxins that can cause serious health problems in humans. Reducing meat consumption will strengthen the immune systems providing protection against numerous diseases. Vegetarian foods provide us with all the nutrients that we need, minus the saturated fat, cholesterol, and contaminants that are found in meat, eggs, and dairy products. Plant-based diets protect us against heart disease, diabetes, obesity, strokes, and several types of cancer.

Workers Rights Human Rights Watch has declared that slaughterhouse workers have “the most dangerous factory job in America.” The industry has refused to do what’s necessary to create safe working conditions for its employees, such as slowing down slaughter lines and supplying workers with appropriate safety gear, because these changes could cut into companies’ bottom lines.

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Impact

More than 27 billion animals are killed for food every year in the U.S. alone. Animals in factory farms have no legal protection from cruelty that would be illegal if it were inflicted on dogs or cats, including neglect, mutilations, genetic manipulation, drug regimens that cause chronic pain and crippling, transport through all weather extremes, and gruesome and violent.


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Meat Production on the rise Past and projected meat production in developed and developing countries from 1970 to 2050

In 2006, meat production increased 2.5 percent to an estimated 276 million tons, output is expected to rise another 3 percent in 2007 to 285 million tons, up to 450 million tons in 2050.

Past and projected food production of livestock products

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Meat production on the rise

At least 60 percent of the meat in 2006 was produced in developing nations.


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Economic growth boosts demand Over recent decades, the global economy has experienced an unparalleled expansion. Population growth, technological and science breakthroughs, political changes, and economic and trade liberalization have all contributed to economic growth. In developing countries, this growth has translated into rising per capita incomes, and an emerging middle class that has purchasing power beyond their basic needs. Over the decade 1991 to 2001, per capita GDP grew at more than 1.4 percent a year for the world as a whole. Developing countries grew at 2.3 percent on average compared to 1.8 percent for developed countries (World Bank 2006). Growth has been particularly pronounced in East Asia with an annual growth rate of close to seven percent, led by China, followed by South Asia with 3.6 percent. The World Bank (2006) projects that GDP growth in developing countries will accelerate in coming decades. There is a high income elasticity of demand for meat and other livestock products—that is, as incomes grow, expenditure on livestock products grows rapidly. Therefore growing per capita incomes will translate into growing demand for these products. This will close much of the gap in average consumption figures of meat, milk and eggs that currently exists between developed and developing countries.

The relationship between per capita income and meat 2002

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Economic growth boosts demand

As the chart below shows, the effect of increased income on diets is greatest among lower—and middle– income populations. This observation is true at individual level as well as at the national level.


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Land degradation Grain needed to adequately feed every one of the people on the entire planet who die of hunger and hungercaused disease annually: 12 million tons

The livestock sector is by far the single largest anthropogenic user of land. The total area occupied by grazing is equivalent to 26 percent of the ice-free terrestrial surface of the planet. In addition, the total area dedicated to feed crop production amounts to 33 percent of total arable land. In all, livestock production accounts for 70 percent of all agricultural land and 30 percent of the land surface of the planet. Expansion of livestock production is a key factor in deforestation, especially in Latin America where the greatest amount of deforestation is occurring – 70 percent of previous forested land in the Amazon is occupied by pastures, and feed crops cover a large part of the remainder. About 20 percent of the world’s pastures and rangelands, with 73 percent of rangelands in dry areas, have been degraded to some extent, mostly through overgrazing, compaction and erosion created by livestock action. The dry lands in particular are affected by these trends, as livestock are often the only source of livelihoods for the people living in these areas. Overgrazing can be reduced by grazing fees and by removing obstacles to mobility on common property pastures. Land degradation can be limited and reversed through soil conservation methods, silvopastoralism, better management of grazing systems, limits to uncontrolled burning by pastoralists and controlled exclusion from sensitive areas. Source: FAO- Livestock’s long shadow

Livestock are the “single largest anthropogenic user of land”. Meat production accounts for 70 percent of all agricultural land and 30 percent of the land surface of the planet. In the Amazon, 70 percent of previously forested land is occupied by pastures for cattle and much of the 30 percent is used to grow soybeans and other feed crops.

Number of people whose food energy needs can be met by the food produced on 2.5 acres of land:

Source: WorldWatch.org

If the land is producing: cabbage

People 23

potatoes

22

rice

19

corn

17

wheat

15

chicken

2

milk

2

eggs

1

beef

1

Source: The Effect of Dietary Change on Agrigulture

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Land degradation

Amount Americans would have to reduce their beef consumption to save 12 million tons of grain: 10 percent.


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Atmosphere and Climate With rising temperatures, rising sea levels, melting icecaps and glaciers, shifting ocean currents and weather patterns, climate change is the most serious challenge facing the human race.

This high level of emissions opens up large opportunities for climate change mitigation through livestock actions. Intensification – in terms of increased productivity both in livestock production and in feed crop agriculture – can reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation and pasture degradation. In addition, restoring historical losses of soil carbon through conservation tillage, cover crops, agro forestry and other measures could sequester up to 1.3 tons of carbon per hectare per year, with additional amounts available through restoration of desertified pastures. Methane emissions can be reduced through improved diets to reduce enteric fermentation, improved manure management and biogas – which also provide renewable energy. Nitrogen emissions can be reduced through improved diets and manure management. The Kyoto Protocol’s clean development mechanism (CDM) can be used to finance the spread of biogas and silvopastoral initiatives involving afforestation and reforestation. Methodologies should be developed so that the CDM can finance other livestock-related options such as soil carbon sequestration through rehabilitation of degraded pastures. Source: FAO - Livestock’s long shadow

Livestock are responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions (as measure in carbon dioxide equivalent) which is higher than the share contributed by cars and SUVs. It also accounts for 37 percent of emissions of methane, which has more than 20 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide, and for 65 percent of nitrous oxide, another powerful greenhouse gas, most of which comes from manure. Source: FAO—WorldWatch.org

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Atmosphere and Climate

The livestock sector is a major player, responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions measured in CO2 equivalent. This is a higher share than transport. The livestock sector accounts for 9 percent of anthropogenic CO2 emissions. The largest share of this derives from land-use changes – especially deforestation – caused by expansion of pastures and arable land for feed crops. Livestock are responsible for much larger shares of some gases with far higher potential to warm the atmosphere. The sector emits 37 percent of anthropogenic methane (with 23 times the global warming potential (GWP) of CO2) most of that from enteric fermentation by ruminants. It emits 65 percent of anthropogenic nitrous oxide (with 296 times the GWP of CO2), the great majority from manure. Livestock are also responsible for almost two-thirds (64 percent) of anthropogenic ammonia emissions, which contribute significantly to acid rain and acidification of ecosystems.


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Factory Farming—Our Health—Our Environment

World Footprint

Source: Global Footprint Network

Livestock-related activities contribute significantly to the ecological footprint, directly through land use for pasture and cropping, and also indirectly through the area needed to absorb CO2 emissions (from fossil fuel use in livestock production and methane from the animals) and ocean fisheries related to fishmeal production for feed.

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Global trends in land-use area for livestock production and total production of meat and milk.

World Footprint

Ecological Footprint per person by component


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Biodiversity

Livestock now account for about 20 percent of the total terrestrial animal biomass, and the 30 percent of the earth’s land surface that they now pre-empt was once habitat for wildlife. Indeed, the livestock sector may well be the leading player in the reduction of biodiversity, since it is the major driver of deforestation, as well as one of the leading drivers of land degradation, pollution, climate change, overfishing, sedimentation of coastal areas and facilitation of invasions by alien species. In addition, resource conflicts with pastoralists threaten species of wild predators and also protected areas close to pastures. Meanwhile in developed regions, especially Europe, pastures had become a location of diverse long-established types of ecosystem, many of which are now threatened by pasture abandonment.

Reduction of the wildlife area pre-empted by livestock can be achieved by intensification. Protection of wild areas, buffer zones, conservation easements, tax credits and penalties can increase the amount of land where biodiversity conservation is prioritized. Efforts should extend more widely to integrate livestock production and producers into landscape management.

Some 306 of the 825 terrestrial eco-regions identified by the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) – ranged across all biomes and all biogeographical realms, reported livestock as one of the current threats. Conservation International has identified 35 global hotspots for biodiversity, characterized by exceptional levels of plant endemism and serious levels of habitat loss. Of these, 23 are reported to be affected by livestock production. An analysis of the authoritative World Conservation Union (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species shows that most of the world’s threatened species are suffering habitat loss where livestock are a factor.

Source: FAO - Livestock’s long shadow

Since many of livestock’s threats to biodiversity arise from their impact on the main resource sectors (climate, air and water pollution, land degradation and deforestation), major options for mitigation are detailed in those sections. There is also scope for improving pastoralists’ interactions with wildlife and parks and raising wildlife species in livestock enterprises. 11

Biodiversity

We are in an era of unprecedented threats to biodiversity. The loss of species is estimated to be running 50 to 500 times higher than background rates found in the fossil record. Fifteen out of 24 important ecosystem services are assessed to be in decline.


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Water The world is moving towards increasing problems of freshwater shortage, scarcity and depletion, with 64 percent of the world’s population expected to live in water-stressed basins by 2025.

Livestock also affect the replenishment of freshwater by compacting soil, reducing infiltration, degrading the banks of watercourses, drying up floodplains and lowering water tables. Livestock’s contribution to deforestation also increases runoff and reduces dry season flows. Water use can be reduced through improving the efficiency of irrigation systems. Livestock’s impact on erosion, sedimentation and water regulation can be addressed by measures against land degradation. Pollution can be tackled through better management of animal waste in industrial production units, better diets to improve nutrient absorption, improved manure management (including biogas) and better use of processed manure on croplands. Industrial livestock production should be decentralized to accessible croplands where wastes can be recycled without overloading soils and freshwater. Policy measures that would help in reducing water use and pollution include full cost pricing of water (to cover supply costs, as well as economic and environmental externalities), regulatory frameworks for limiting inputs and scale, specifying required equipment and discharge levels, zoning regulations and taxes to discourage large-scale concentrations close to cities, as well as the development of secure water rights and water markets, and participatory management of watersheds. Source: FAO - Livestock’s long shadow

Livestock are major water users and polluters. The irrigation of feed crops for cattle accounts to nearly 8 percent of global human water use. Compounding the contamination of rivers and streams form the runoff of manure from feedlots, livestock waste can contaminate soil and groundwater with a cocktail of hormones, pesticides, and antibiotics used in factory farms. Source: WorldWatch.org

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Water

The livestock sector is a key player in increasing water use, accounting for over 8 percent of global human water use, mostly for the irrigation of feed crops. It is probably the largest sectoral source of water pollution, contributing to eutrophication, “dead” zones in coastal areas, degradation of coral reefs, human health problems, emergence of antibiotic resistance and many others. The major sources of pollution are from animal wastes, antibiotics and hormones, chemicals from tanneries, fertilizers and pesticides used for feedcrops, and sediments from eroded pastures. Global figures are not available but in the United States, with the world’s fourth largest land area, livestock are responsible for an estimated 55 percent of erosion and sediment, 37 percent of pesticide use, 50 percent of antibiotic use, and a third of the loads of nitrogen and phosphorus into freshwater resources.


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Average Virtual Water usage—sample products

Gallons/lbs

Coffee Leather Beef Sheep Cheese Millet Pork Goat Meat Chicken meat Coconut Tea Soybeans Sugar cane Eggs (1lb) 1 lbs Bread Barley Wheat Corn Potato Apple Beer/large glass

2,773 2,192 2,047 806 660 660 634 528 515 330 317 238 198 198 172 172 172 119 119 92 40

Equivalent in Shower/Day 158 Days 125 Days 117 Days 46 Days 38 Days 38 Days 36 Days 30 Days 29 Days 19 Days 18 Days 14 Days 11 Days 11 Days 10 Days 10 Days 10 Days 7 Days 7 Days 5 Days 2 Days

(5.3 (4.2 (3.9 (1.5

months) months) months) month)

240 304 (~1 cow/edible) 325 827 1,009 1,009 1,051 1,261 1,293 2,017 2,101 2,802 3,362 3,364 3,879 3,879 3,879 5,603 5,603 7,204 16,810

A few numbers used in the calculations: • One Olympic size pool contains 660000 gallons of water • One cow average weight 1000 lbs • Average edible meat from one cow 37% (when carcass and inners removed) • Average T-Shirt weight 1/2 lbs • Average water in one shower/day: 17.5 gallons (7 minutes at 2.5 gallon/min)

How to read the table: (examples) • One pound of Beef will take 2047 gallons of water. The equivalent of 117 days of shower. One Olympic size pool of water is needed for 325 lbs of meat. • One pound of potatoes will take 119 gallons of water. The equivalent of 7 days of shower. One Olympic size pool of water is needed for 5603 lbs of potatoes.

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Average virtual water usage—sample products

One lbs

One Olympic Size Pool will provide (lbs)


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Factory Farming—Our Health—Our Environment

Factory Farming— Misery on your plate The factory farming system of modern agriculture strives to maximize output while minimizing costs. Cows, calves, pigs, chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, and other animals are kept in small cages, in jam-packed sheds, or on filthy feedlots, often with so little space that they can't even turn around or lie down comfortably. They are deprived of exercise so that all their bodies' energy goes toward producing flesh, eggs, or milk for human consumption. The giant corporations that run most factory farms have found that they can make more money by cramming animals into tiny spaces, even though many of the animals get sick and some die. Industry journal National Hog Farmer explains, "Crowding Pigs Pays," and egg-industry expert Bernard Rollins writes that "chickens are cheap; cages are expensive." They are fed drugs to fatten them faster and to keep them alive in conditions that would otherwise kill them, and they are genetically altered to grow faster or to produce much more milk or eggs than they would naturally. Many animals become crippled under their own weight and die within inches of water and food.

Factory Farming - Misery on your plate

While the suffering of all animals on factory farms is similar, each type of farmed animal faces different types of cruelty.

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Unnecessary suffering Cattle Cattle raised for their flesh spend the first year of their lives grazing. In fact, they are the only farmed animals other than sheep who are ever allowed to do anything natural, like breathe fresh air or feel sun on their backs.

While “on the range,” most cows receive inadequate veterinary care, and as a result, many die from infection and injury. Every winter, cattle freeze to death in states like Montana, Nebraska, and North Dakota. And every summer, cows collapse from heat stroke in states like Texas and Arizona. After about a year of facing the elements, cows are shipped to an auction lot and then across hundreds of miles to massive feedlots—feces- and mud-filled holding pens where they are crammed together by the thousands. Many arrive crippled or dead from the journey. Cattle on feedlots are fed a very unnatural diet to fatten them up. This diet causes chronic digestive pain—imagine your worst case of gastritis never going away—and some of their innards actually become ulcerated and eventually rupture (the industry calls this condition “bloat”). According to a study published in the Journal of Animal Science, this diet also causes potentially fatal liver abscesses in as many as 32 percent of cattle raised for beef.2 The feedlot air is saturated with ammonia, methane, and other noxious chemicals, which build up from the huge amounts of manure, and the cows are forced to inhale these gasses constantly. These fumes can give the cows chronic respiratory problems, making breathing painful. Cattle raised for food are also pumped full of drugs to make them grow faster and keep them alive in these miserable conditions. Instead of taking sick cattle to see a veterinarian, many feedlot owners simply give the animals even higher doses of human-grade antibiotics in an attempt to keep them alive long enough to make it to the slaughterhouse. Source: Journal of Animal Science

World Meat Production by Source 2006 worldwatch.org

Animal

Life Span

Life Span in farms

Pig Chicken Turkey Cow Sheep-Goat Calves

15 years 3 to 5 years 6 to 7 years 20 to 25 years 12 to 15 years 20 to 25 years

5 to 6 months 50 days on average 6 months average 3 to 7 years Lamb 12 weeks 23 weeks on average

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Unnecessary suffering

However, cattle are still subjected to abuses that would warrant felony cruelty-to-animals charges if they were dogs or cats. To mark cows for identification, ranchers restrain the animals and push hot fire irons into their flesh, causing third degree burns, as they bellow in pain and attempt to escape. Male calves’ testicles are ripped from their scrotums without pain relievers, and the horns of cows raised for beef are cut or burned off at the base, often causing extreme pain.


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Happy cows are from... Milk Cows

Mother cows on dairy farms can often be seen searching and calling for their calves long after they have been separated. Author Oliver Sacks, M.D., wrote of a visit that he and cattle expert Dr. Temple Grandin made to a dairy farm and of the great tumult of bellowing that they heard when they arrived: “‘They must have separated the calves from the cows this morning,’ Temple said, and, indeed, this was what had happened. We saw one cow outside the stockade, roaming, looking for her calf, and bellowing. ‘That’s not a happy cow,’ Temple said. ‘That’s one sad, unhappy, upset cow. She wants her baby. Bellowing for it, hunting for it. She’ll forget for a while, then start again. It’s like grieving, mourning—not much written about it. People don’t like to allow them thoughts or feelings.’” Cows are hooked up to milk machines that often tear their udders. After their calves are taken from them, mother cows are hooked up, several times a day, to machines that take the milk intended for their babies. Using genetic manipulation, powerful hormones, and intensive milking, factory farmers force cows to produce about 10 times as much milk as they naturally would. Animals are pumped full of bovine growth hormone (BGH), which contributes to painful inflamma20 Feet high mounts of crop feed trucked through the alleys tion of the udder known as “mastitis.” (BGH is used throughout the U.S., but has been banned in Europe and Canada because of concerns over human health and animal welfare.) According to the industry’s own figures, between 30 and 50 percent of dairy cows suffer from mastitis, an extremely painful condition. A cow’s natural lifespan is 25 years, but cows used by the dairy industry are killed after only four or five years. An industry study reports that by the time they are killed, nearly 40 percent of dairy cows are lame because of the filth, intensive confinement, and the strain of constantly being pregnant and giving milk. Dairy cows are turned into soup, companion animal food, or low-grade hamburger meat because their bodies too “spent” to be used for anything else.

Source: New Scientist, UK the Guardian, National Veterinary Institute, Center for Food Safety, Journal of Animal Science.

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Happy cows are from ...

Cows produce milk for the same reason that humans do: to nourish their babies. In order to force the animals to continue giving milk, factory farmers impregnate them using artificial insemination every year. Calves are generally taken from their mothers within a day of being born—males are destined for veal crates, and females are sentenced to the same fate as their mothers.


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Veal Calves Male calves—“byproducts” of the dairy industry—are generally taken from their mothers when they are less than 1 day old. The calves are then put into dark, tiny crates, where they are kept almost completely immobilized so that their flesh stays tender. The calves are fed a liquid diet that is low in iron and has little nutritive value in order to make their flesh white. This heinous treatment makes the calves ill, and they frequently suffer from anemia, diarrhea, and pneumonia. Frightened, sick, and alone, these calves are killed after only a few months of life. “Veal” is the flesh of a tortured, sick baby cow, and a byproduct of the milk industry.

In more humane farms, the calves are not chained, they are kept in crates only for a few months, and later moved to small pens with other calves.

All adult and baby cows, whether raised for their flesh or their milk, are eventually shipped to a slaughterhouse and killed.

Veal calves

They are also give colostrums for the first few days after birth. The colostrums are known to reinforce the calves’ immunity, thus considerably diminishing the amount of antibiotics later needed for them. In the next few weeks, they are given milk, and then sent back to the dairy farm, where they will be fed roughage. A few weeks later, they return to the veal farm, and are kept in larger pens, not chained, in groups of six at the most. At around twenty four weeks, they are brought to slaughter.

Thousands of veal crates

Source: New Scientist, UK the Guardian, National Veterinary Institute, Center for Food Safety, Journal of Animal Science.

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Pigs Many people who know pigs compare them to dogs because they are friendly, loyal, and intelligent. Pigs are naturally very clean and avoid, if at all possible, soiling their living areas. When given the chance to live away from factory farms, pigs will spend hours playing, lying in the sun, and exploring their surroundings with their powerful sense of smell. Considered smarter than 3-year-old human children, pigs are very clever animals.

Breeding sows spend their entire miserable lives in tiny metal crates where they can't even turn around. Shortly after giving birth, they are once again forcibly impregnated. This cycle continues for years until their bodies finally give out and they are sent to be killed. When the time comes for slaughter, these smart and sensitive As piglets, they are taken away from their mothers when animals are forced onto transport trucks that travel for they are less than 1 month old; their tails are cut off, some many miles through all weather extremes—many die of of their teeth are cut off, and the males have their testicles heat exhaustion in the summer and arrive frozen to the inside of the truck in the winter. ripped out of their scrotums (castration), all without any pain relief. They spend their entire lives in overcrowded According to industry reports, more than 1 million pens on a tiny slab of filthy concrete. pigs die in transport each year, and an additional 420,000 are crippled by the time they arrive at the Fattening pigs live for roughly six months. Conditions slaughterhouse. vary, but cold, bare, overcrowded concrete or slatted pens are considered normal. These frustrate rooting behavior and cause lameness. Impoverished conditions can Many are still fully conscious when they are immersed in scalding water for hair removal. also lead to fighting and tail-biting. Routine mutilations such as teeth clipping and tail docking are practiced to reduce potential damage. Males grown to heavier weights Globally, 1.2 billion pigs are often castrated. All of these procedures are norare slaughtered for mally practiced without anesthetic, causing consider- meat every year. able pain. ‘Selection for large muscle blocks and fast growth has led to leg problems, cardiovascular inadequacy during periods of high metabolism and increased risk of mortality and poor welfare during handling and transport.’

Source: USDA—Feedstuffs– National Hog Farmers

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Pigs

Most people rarely have the opportunity to interact with these outgoing, sensitive animals because 97 percent of pigs in United States today are raised on factory farms. These pigs spend their entire lives in cramped, filthy warehouses, under constant stress from the intense confinement and denied everything that is natural to them.


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Chickens—Turkeys ment. After their bodies are exhausted and their production drops, they are shipped to slaughter, generally to be turned into chicken soup or cat or dog food because their flesh is too bruised and battered to be used for much else.

More than 9 billion chickens raised on factory farms each year in the U.S. never have the chance to do anything that is natural to them. They will never even meet their parents, let alone be raised by them. They will never take dust baths, feel the sun on their backs, breathe fresh air, roost in trees, or build nests. Chickens raised for their flesh, called “broilers” by the chicken industry, spend their entire lives in filthy sheds with tens of thousands of other birds, where intense crowding and confinement lead to outbreaks of disease. They are bred and drugged to grow so large so quickly that their legs and organs can’t keep up, making heart attacks, organ failure, and crippling leg deformities common. Many become crippled under their own weight and eventually die because they can’t reach the water nozzles. When they are only 6 or 7 weeks old, they are crammed into cages and trucked to slaughter.

Chickens are slammed into small crates and trucked to the slaughterhouse through all weather extremes. Hundreds of millions suffer from broken wings and legs from rough handling, and millions die from the stress of the journey. At the slaughterhouse, their legs are snapped into shackles, their throats are cut, and they are immersed in scalding hot water to remove their feathers. Because they have no federal legal protection (birds are exempt from the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act), most are still conscious when their throats are cut open, and many are literally scalded to death in the feather-removal tanks after missing the throat cutter. Source: Humane Society of the United States—Poultry Science Association

Birds exploited for their eggs, called “laying hens” by the industry, are crammed together in wire cages where they don’t even have enough room to spread a single wing. The cages are stacked on top of each other, and the excrement from chickens in the higher cages constantly falls on those below. The birds have part of their sensitive beaks cut off so that they won’t peck each other as a result of the frustration created by the unnatural confine19

Chickens - Turkeys

Because the male chicks of egglaying breeder hens are unable to lay eggs and are not bred to produce excessive flesh for the meat industry, they are killed. Every year, more than 100 million of these young birds are ground up alive or tossed into bags to suffocate.


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Battery Hens In battery cages for laying hens several birds are kept in a narrow wire cage. A typical battery cage shed may contain up to 70,000 caged birds. Such deprivation creates endemic welfare difficulties. Bones deteriorate because of lack of exercise; broken legs and other injuries from brittle bones are a particular problem. Damage to feet is also frequent, especially when they become entangled around the wire mesh cage floor. Frustrated by the impoverished conditions and unable to build a natural pecking order, birds can become aggressive and attack cage-mates.

At the hatchery, chicks enter this world inside drawers of huge incubators. They have no mother to take care of them

Battery hens

Male chicks are killed as soon as they have been sexed, since it is considered uneconomic to fatten for meat the breeds genetically selected for egg-laying productivity. Mechanical destruction in a mincing machine is the favored method ‘the majority are culled by a vacuum system’, making it ‘impossible to assess exactly when the chicks were killed’.

The lives of male chicks have no value to an egg farmer. In this photo, unwanted male chicks struggle to survive amid egg shells and garbage in a dumpster behind a hatchery for laying hens. They were just thrown out with the trash.

Many of the world’s 17 billion hens and meat chickens are given an area less than the size of a sheet of paper to live in.

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Eating for good health

The American Dietetic Association states that vegetarians have “lower rates of death from ischemic heart disease; … lower blood cholesterol levels, lower blood pressure, and lower rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and prostate and colon cancer” and that vegetarians are less likely than meat-eaters to be obese. Well-planned vegetarian diets provide us with all the nutrients that we need, minus all the saturated fat, cholesterol, and contaminants found in animal flesh, eggs, and dairy products. Research has shown that vegetarians are 50 percent less likely to develop heart disease, and they have 40 percent of the cancer rate of meat-eaters. Plus, meat-eaters are nine times more likely to be obese than vegans are. The consumption of meat, eggs, and dairy products has also been strongly linked to osteoporosis, Alzheimer's, asthma, and male impotence. Scientists have also found that vegetarians have stronger immune systems than their meat-eating friends; this means that they are less susceptible to everyday illnesses like the flu. A plant-based diet is the best diet for kids, too: Studies have shown that vegetarian kids grow healthier and have higher IQs than their classmates, and they are at a reduced risk for heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and other diseases in the long run. Studies have shown that even older people who switch to a vegetarian or vegan diet can prevent and even reverse many chronic ailments. Source: Journal of the American Dietetic Association—WebMD— The Food Revolution—Physicians Committee for Responsile Medicine

The role of meat in healthy diets In spite of repeated calls to reduce red meat and dairy intake, there is still a widespread perception that animal foods are necessary to human health. It is easy to see why. Meat does have some positive nutritional qualities. It contains good protein and is a major source of several readily available minerals (such as iron, zinc, potassium, phosphorus and magnesium) and some vitamins (particularly among the B group). Because these nutrients are accessible in a concentrated form, some commentators regard its consumption as important, particularly for children and in the fight against malnutrition because ‘plant-based diets do not provide high-quality energy, protein and micro-nutrients’. One of the principal reasons why meat has been championed is for its high and easily accessible iron content and the fear that children in particular may become iron-deficient on a vegetarian diet. But the evidence does not support this. While non-meat eaters do tend to have lower iron stores than omnivores, several studies have indicated that this does not cause greater incidences of iron deficiency. Absorption of iron from foods rich in vitamin C actually increases in efficiency when stores are lower, so vegetarians can easily compensate by consuming a varied, vitamin C rich, plant-food diet. There is also some concern that high meat consumption may cause excessive iron intake, associated with higher risk of coronary heart disease, colorectal cancer and type 2 diabetes. The saturated fat content of red meat means that, whatever its positive qualities, consumption should always be limited. The World Cancer Research Fund and American Institute for Cancer Research have recommended that intake should be no greater than 80 grams (3 oz) daily, which they estimate at less than one portion per day. While it is certainly necessary to eat a range of plant foods to ensure intake of the nutrients provided by meat, it is perfectly possible to do so. According to a major 2006 Harvard study of 135,000 people, people who frequently ate grilled skinless chicken had a 52 percent higher chance of developing bladder cancer compared to people who didn’t. 21

Eating for good health

Leading health experts agree that going vegetarian is the single-best thing we can do for ourselves and our families. Healthy vegetarian diets support a lifetime of good health and provide protection against numerous diseases, including our country’s three biggest killers: heart disease, cancer, and strokes.


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Your Health—Dairy Foods

Some evidence suggests that high milk consumption may, in fact, be associated with a higher risk of bone fractures. The most likely explanation is that the calcium absorbed from dairy products is used to neutralize the acid created by the animal protein content of the same products. It is speculated further that calcium is best assimilated when magnesium is also present - a mineral largely absent from dairy foods. The high prevalence of osteoporosis in some countries where dairy consumption is high would indicate further its ineffectiveness as a counter to brittle bones. Although the World Health Organization/Food and Agriculture Organization's summary of the latest evidence on osteoporosis suggests that those populations with a high fracture rate should increase their calcium intake (and also vitamin D), it also states that for most people there appears to be no correlation between increased calcium intake and a decreased risk of bone fractures. The dietary recommendation from the WHO/FAO is to eat more fruit and vegetables rather than dairy foods to ensure good bone health. Other research indicates that calcium is available in a more beneficially assimilated form in broccoli, kale and other green leafy vegetables, and that, most of all, adequate weight-bearing exercise is also vital for bone health. Source: Harward medical school guide to healthy eating, The food revolution, WHO/FAO.

Countries with the highest consumption of dairy products: Finland, Sweden USA, England. Countries with the highest rates of osteoporosis: Same countries. Calcium intake in rural China: 1/2 that of people in the USA Bone fracture rate in rural China: 1/5 that of people in the USA. Source: Nutrition Today, Mc Dougall’s Medicine, The Food Revolution

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In addition to the misery that diet-related diseases create for those who suffer from them, there is a high monetary burden paid in the price of treating preventable disease. At a time when publicly-funded health services are under increasing pressure, the escalating monetary costs associated with cardiovascular disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes are depleting already too overstretched health resources. Limited available figures give some indication of the size of the problem. In the US, the 23 per cent of adults considered obese by international standards cost 12 per cent of the national health budget. By the late 1990s the actual figure stood at $118 billion more than double the amount attributed to smoking. Heart disease costs had risen to in excess of $180 billion by 2001 and this figure excludes lost productivity because sufferers are unable to work. Animal foods are not the only cause, of course, but the size of the problem has led some commentators to speculate that on health costs alone, the massive US meat industry - worth roughly $100 billion a year - may be a net drain on the economy. Source: Worldwatch.org

Your health - Dairy Foods

Some assert that the calcium content of cow’s milk makes it an essential food to prevent brittle bones, particularly for children. The problem is that even though milk may be an efficient way to get calcium from food, it also comes with a lot of negatives; particularly high saturated fat content. As Professor Walter Willett points out, ‘drinking three (eight ounce) glasses a day would be the equivalent of eating twelve strips of bacon or a Big Mac and an order of fries’. Skimmed still includes roughly half the amount of fat of whole milk, while the saturated fat content of most cheeses is equal to one glass of whole milk for every one ounce serving. These figures indicate that on health grounds, dairy foods should play no more than a minor role in the human diet. Humans are the only free-living animals that consume milk beyond weaning and three quarters of adults in the world are lactose intolerant.


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Your Health - Toxins in your food to promote growth in animals used for food has been banned for many years in Europe, and scientists have clearly shown that the hormones used in cows can cause disrupted development and cancer in humans. Despite these findings, farmers in America continue to dose cows with powerful hormones that can make humans sick. If the bacteria, hormones, and arsenic don’t take their toll in the short term, the build-up of dioxins from animal products could cause serious health problems in the long run. Dioxins are chemicals that are released into the environment when substances are burned, and they accumulate in the flesh and milk of animals. These chemicals are present in our environment in small doses, but according to leading scientists and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), nearly 95 percent of our dioxin exposure comes in the concentrated form of red meat, fish, and dairy products, because when we eat animal products, the dioxin that animals have built up in their bodies is absorbed into our own. A powerful hormone-disrupting chemical, dioxin binds to a cell and modifies its functioning, causing a wide range of effects, including cancer, depressed immune response, nervous system disorders, miscarriages, and birth deformities. Researchers at the EPA have found that people who consume even small amounts of dioxin from meat and dairy products have an extra one in 100 risk of suffering from The antibiotics that we depend on to treat these illnesses cancer—solely as a result of their dioxin consumption and are being used to promote rapid growth in animals and to prevent them from dying from the diseases that are rampant on top of all other risks. on factory farms. One of the antibiotics that we do know about contains significant amounts of the most carcinogenic Animal flesh, eggs, and milk are also often laced with other toxins that have been shown to harm human health, includform of arsenic, and USDA researchers have found that ing pesticides, mercury, and PCBs. The late renowned peeating 2 ounces of chicken per day—the equivalent of a third to a half of a boneless breast—exposes a consumer to diatrician Dr. Benjamin Spock, who was a vocal advocate of 3 to 5 micrograms of inorganic arsenic, the element’s most vegan diets for adults and children, explained, toxic form.” Daily exposure to low doses of arsenic can “Another good reason cause cancer, dementia, neurological problems, and for getting your nutrition other ailments in humans. from plant sources is that animals tend to More immediately, this abuse of pharmaceuticals has concentrate pesticides spurred the evolution of new strains of antibioticand other chemicals in resistant super-bacteria. their meat and milk. Antibiotics aren’t the only chemicals used to promote

Every year in the U.S., there are 75 million cases of food poisoning, and 5,000 of these cases are fatal. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that 70 percent of food poisoning is caused by contaminated animal flesh.

Studies have found that most of the meat on grocery store shelves today is contaminated with these bacteria, which cannot be killed with conventional antibiotics. If you eat meat tainted with these super-germs and fall ill, many antibiotics that doctors rely on to treat sickness will be useless.

growth in farmed animals—the cattle industry also doses cows with hormones to make them grow larger and produce more milk than they would naturally. The use of hormones

Source: CNN.com (Seafood and Eggs biggest causes of food poisoning in U.S.), Dennis O’Brien The Baltimore Sun, EMedicine, Johns Hopkins Public Health News Center, European Union, The Food Revolution, Dioxin Report by EPA.

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Your health - Toxins in your food

The meat, dairy products, fish, and eggs on supermarket shelves today are loaded with bacteria, antibiotics, dioxins, hormones, and a host of other toxins that can cause serious health problems in humans. Every time you eat animal products, you are ingesting known carcinogens, bacteria, and other contaminants that can accumulate in your body and remain there for years.


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Slaughterhouse: deplorable labor conditions

What once were hundreds of head processed per day are now thousands; what were thousands are now tens of thousands per day. One worker described the reality of the line in her foreman’s order: “Speed, Ruth, work for speed! One cut! One cut! One cut for the skin; one cut for the meat. Get those pieces through!” Said another: “People can’t take it, always harder, harder, harder! [mas duro, mas duro, mas duro!].”

ded in meat and poultry industry employment. Any single meatpacking or poultry processing company which by itself sought to respect the rights of its workers— and hence incurred additional costs—would face undercutting price competition from other businesses that did not. To date, the industry as such has shown little inclination to work collectively to increase respect for workers’ rights, either through trade association standards or through joint support for legislative safeguards.

But an equal or greater responsibility for halting workers’ rights violations in the meat and poultry industry lies with government at both federal and state levels. Only governmental power can set a uniform floor of strengthened industry-wide rules for workplace health and safety and for workers’ compensation benefits. Only government agencies can Constant fear and risk is another feature of meat and effectively enforce workers’ organizing rights and ensure poultry labor. Meatpacking work has extraordinarily high effective and timely recourse and remedies for workers rates of injury. Workers injured on the job may then face dismissal. Workers risk losing their jobs when they exercise whose rights are violated. Only government agencies can provide the strong legal enforcement required to deter emtheir rights to organize and bargain collectively in an atployers from violating workers’ rights. Finally, only governtempt to improve working conditions. And immigrant workment policy can change the vulnerable status of the huners—an increasing percentage of the workforce in the indreds of thousands of immigrant workers in the meat and dustry—are particularly at risk. Language difficulties often prevent them from being aware of their rights under the law poultry industry. and of specific hazards in their work. Immigrant workers In sum, the United States is failing to meet its obligawho are undocumented, as many are, risk deportation if tions under international human rights standards to they seek to organize and to improve conditions. protect the human Meat and poultry industry companies do not promise roserights of garden workplaces, nor should it be expected of them. meat and Turning an eight hundred pound animal or even a five poultry inpound chicken into tenders for the supermarket checkout or dustry workfast food restaurant counter is by its nature demanding ers. physical labor in bloody, greasy surroundings. But workers in this industry face more than hard work in tough Source: Humans settings. They contend with conditions, vulnerabilities, Right Watch and abuses which violate human rights. www.hrw.org

Employers put workers at predictable risk of serious physical injury even though the means to avoid such injury are known and feasible. They frustrate workers’ efforts to obtain compensation for workplace injuries when they occur. They crush workers’ self-organizing efforts and rights of association. These are systematic human rights violations embed24

Slaughterhouse: deplorable labor conditions

Workers in American beef, pork, and poultry slaughtering and processing plants perform dangerous jobs in difficult conditions. Dispatching the nonstop tide of animals and birds arriving on plant kill floors and live hang areas is itself hazardous and exhausting labor. After slaughter, the carcasses hurl along evisceration and disassembly lines as workers hurriedly saw and cut them at unprecedented volume and pace.


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Slaughterhouse: too fast— too many hazards

Repetitive Stress Injuries Workers in slaughterhouses and processing plants are also prone to repetitive stress injuries from cutting carcasses and lifting piles of dead animals all day long. The rate of repetitive stress injury for slaughterhouse employees is 35 times higher than in other manufacturing jobs. Making the same cutting or lifting motion every few seconds, employees on the processing line often perform the same repetitive gesture 10,000 times in a single eight-hour shift. A former worker at a chicken slaughterhouse whose hands are swollen like claws says, “I hung the live birds on the line. Grab, reach, jerk, lift. Without stopping for hours every day … after a time, you see what happens. Your arms stick out and your hands are frozen. Look at me now. I’m twenty-two years old, and I feel like an old man.”

A worker told Gail Eisnitz, author of the widely acclaimed book Slaughterhouse, that employees are routinely forced to cut animals up while the animals are still conscious, saying “[Our legger] gets beef that’s still conscious all the time. Sometimes almost every one … I’ve seen beef still alive at the flankers, more often at the ‘ears and horns.’ That’s a long way.” In The Washington Post article about slaughterhouses—entitled “They Die Piece by Piece”—former animal-processing plant employee Tim Walker says that he was fired after complaining to the Humane Society that animals were cut apart while they were still alive. “I complained to everyone—I said, ‘Lookit, they’re skinning live cows in there.’ Always it was the same answer: ‘We know it’s true. But there’s nothing we can do about it.

One of the most serious hazards for slaughterhouse workers is the high line speed. Roughly 10 billion animals are killed in our nation’s slaughterhouses each year, and slaughterhouses are constantly increasing their line speed to meet this demand.

According to a report in Fortune magazine, “Poultry workers are also 14 times more likely [than other factory workers] to suffer debilitating injuries stemming from repetitive trauma—like ‘claw hand’ (in which the injured fingers lock in a curled position) and ganglionic cysts (fluid deposits under the skin).” No matter what type of animal they’re killing, workers often suffer debilitating cumulative stress injuries because of the constant toll that cutting and lifting take on their muscles and joints.

The fast line speeds also make it difficult for the workers to take the time to remove contaminated animal carcasses from the line. David Carney, chair of the National Joint Council of Food Inspection Locals, has seen meat go down the line that is “contaminated with feces, abscesses, tapeworms, hair, hid buckshot, chewing tobacco, and even cactus thorns … cattle heads so disgusting that contamination oozes out of their skulls.

Source: Slaughterhouse Gail A Eisnitz, The Washington Post, The Nation, Human Rights Watch, Journal of the American Veterinary Association,

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Slaughterhouse: too fast - too many hazards

This frantic and fast-paced environment does not provide workers with any opportunity to slow the line to make sure that they are following proper safety precautions—in fact, the line moves so quickly that animals aren’t even allowed enough time to die, so workers are often forced to hack them apart as they are still struggling to escape


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Slaughterhouses: unsanitary and unfair Bacteria and diseases: Workers also risk being infected with dangerous animalborne diseases and bacteria, including E. coli, listeria, and campylobacter. Animals raised for food are intensively confined on disease-ridden factory farms, and by the time they reach the slaughterhouse many are suffering from pneumonia and other chronic illness, and some have cancerous lesions or pus-filled wounds all over their bodies. At slaughter, animals often vomit and defecate on the workers.

The fumes from manure pits pose another serious hazard to factory farm employees: Since the 1970s, at least 24 people in the Midwest have died after inhaling toxic gases from animal excrement. According to an investigative report that appeared in the Dayton Daily News, “Some workers spend 70 hours a week inside confinement buildings, breathing manure fumes from hundreds and sometimes thousands of livestock.” Kevin Harmon, a 32year-old chicken catcher in Virginia, told reporters, “The ammonia rises up from the manure and it takes your breath away. I used to throw up a lot; cough a lot, too. I have diarrhea all the time.”

A poultry plant worker from Arkansas told Human Rights Watch, “Everybody is on top of each other, so a lot of people get cut, especially their hands. Blood and flesh fall into the meat. The birds just keep going.

The people who come in at night to clean the slaughterhouses are especially at risk for serious injury—the air is heavy with fog from hoses that spray steaming water and chlorine onto the equipment, and the workers cannot see more than a few feet in front of them. Many of the killing machines are still running, and the cleaners have to climb onto them in order to clean off all the blood, grease, and feces that have accumulated from the thousands of animals killed that day. Inevitably, some of the cleaners are hurt or killed by the equipment that they’re trying to clean.

The farmed-animal industry deliberately recruits immigrants because they will accept low wages and can be easily manipulated for fear of losing their jobs. Some meatpacking giants have even been charged with smuggling undocumented workers into the States. Far away from their homes with no support network, many of these migrant workers are treated like slaves by the farmed-animal industry. In some slaughterhouses, two-thirds of the workers are immigrants who cannot speak English.

Source: OSHA—Human Rights Watch

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Slaughterhouses: unsanitary and unfair

Workers on the killing floor are in constant contact with feces, vomit, and diseased animals, so it’s not surprising that they often fall ill themselves.


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What you can do Individuals often feel discouraged from taking personal initiatives because they feel that they are futile. ‘It makes no difference what I do’, it is argued, ‘so why should I bother?’ But as the late E.F. Schumacher suggested, this is the wrong question to ask ourselves. ‘We must do what we perceive to be the right thing’, he wrote, ‘and not bother our heads or burden our souls with whether we’re going to be successful. Because if we don’t do the right thing, we’ll be doing the wrong thing, and we’ll just be part of the disease and not a part of the cure’. By lobbying politicians at local and national level, every citizen has the opportunity to be part of a campaign for more humane, healthy and sustainable food.

♦ ♦ ♦

Having at least one meatless day every week in support of the principle of meat reduction. Cut meat consumption by at least 50 percent after six months. Boycott all intensively produced meat, eggs and dairy products. If buying meat, chose animal welfare-friendly produce. Organic standards should ensure animals benefit from higher standards of welfare during rearing and slaughter and that the methods used are environmentally friendly. Free-range is the next best option. Don’t forget to ask for that in restaurants as well. Increase consumption of fruit and vegetables to at least 400 gms per day in keeping with the recommendation of the World Health Organization. Consider adopting a vegetarian or vegan diet. One person’s 100 per cent reduction can help to ‘subsidize’ 6 people who haven’t yet reduced their meat consumption at all. Don't eat foreign animal products. Welfare objections stick to imported animal products. Why would a country overproduce and deplete its natural resources? This cannot go

♦ ♦

hand in hand with a balanced and animal-friendly way of working. Make clear that you want responsible foods in the company restaurant or cafeteria, which doesn't come from factory farming but is ecologically responsible. Don't buy from companies that don't care about animal rights or contribute financially to companies that support raising animals in horrible conditions. Speak up, tell the people in charge and politicians about your views. Protest against permits for factory farms. If factory farms want to settle near you or want to extend their stables, there are possibilities to stop them from getting permits. Write to your paper or magazine. Sending a letter in which you state your opinion on factory farming, can make many people think. Support organizations against factory farming. If you want to help them, you can become a contributor and/or apply as a volunteer to help with actions.

Make clear how you feel about animal rights. It can be tricky to determine how far you can go. If you exaggerate, it may turn out wrong. If you say nothing, nobody will know how you feel. When you have dinner with other people, you can always tell them (up front) that you won't eat meat from factory farming. And if you go shopping, tell the sales person that you are looking for ecological products. If you want to convince others of your viewpoints, it is best to target people whose ideas are close to your own. It takes a lot of time and energy to convert patent opposers. Don't strain yourself. Be brief and don't attack others when you tell them how you feel.

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What you can do

Yet valuable and necessary as it is to pursue political reform, it is always slower and more difficult to achieve than changes in our own lives. It is also possible to influence the future by accepting personal responsibility for the way we live and the products we consume. What follows are measures that every individual can consider in the campaign for a more sustainable and humane diet, ranging from small to radical steps:


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Vegetarian & Vegan diet for health warning that deficiencies in protein, vitamin A, iodine, iron, zinc, vitamin B12, selenium, taurine and long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids can be a problem if variety of foods is restricted, Professor Sanders goes on to state that in practice, the typical plant-food diet enjoyed in developed Roughly one billion of the world’s human population nations is often more nutritionally satisfying than that consumed by meat eaters. Vegans are ‘more likely to is estimated to be vegetarian, or virtually vegetarian, consume unrefined carbohydrate foods, salads, fruit, nuts so their very existence offers proof enough that meat is not necessary for human survival. But there are a and pulses on a regular basis. Consequently, the intake of couple of provisos. Vegetarian diets can vary enormously. several nutrients, notably thiamin, folate, vitamin C, caroFor many poor people in the developing world they remain tene, potassium and vitamin E, are higher in vegetarians than in the general population’. The author also states that a matter of necessity rather than choice. Their diet often lacks many of the nutrients or energy value thought vital to there is no evidence associating a wellbalanced plantgood health, with a common dependence upon one staple based diet with increased risk of any serious disease. This view is confirmed by the American Dietetic Associations food of limited value, such as maize or cassava. Even in developed nations, where vegetarianism is usually a mat- and Dieticians of Canada in their joint position statement ter of choice, some who avoid meat eat an unhealthy diet, on vegetarian diets: either lacking in essential vitamins and minerals or too full of unhealthy fats. Lacto-vegetarian diets based predomiSource: Eating Less Meat, American Institute for Cancer Research, The nantly upon dairy foods or convenience products are likely nutritional adequacy of plant-based diets, American Dietetic Association, Nutrition Research & Review, Food Ethics Council. to be particularly high in saturated fat. Vegans must be sure to obtain a sufficient intake of vitamin B12, calcium, iodine and zinc - nutrients more readily available from a single source in animal foods. Given these qualifications, a varied vegetarian diet can easily provide all the required nutrients and there is nothing beneficial found in animal products that cannot be obtained from alternative sources. When compared to meat eaters, vegetarians are likely to consume more unrefined carbohydrate and less saturated fat. They also tend to eat greater quantities of fruit and vegetables, so have a higher intake of antioxidant nutrients such as carotene, vitamins C and E, plus other phytochemicals associated with lower chronic disease risk. The American Dietetic Association and Dieticians of Canada advise that ‘appropriately planned vegetarian diets are healthful, are nutritionally adequate and provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases’. In addition to lower rates of death from heart disease, the organizations state that ‘vegetarians also show lower blood cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and lower rates of hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and prostate and colon cancer’. They also draw attention to the possibility of a lower risk of dementia amongst vegetarians, quoting US research which indicates that, ‘those who ate meat were more than twice as likely to develop dementia’. Available evidence also points to the adequacy of strictly vegan diets (i.e. exclusively plant-based). In a summary of existing evidence, Professor Tom Sanders of Kings College, London states that they are ‘nutritionally adequate providing they are not restricted in variety or quality’. While 28

Vegetarian & Vegan diet for health

For those who wish to eliminate meat from their diet on moral grounds, the question of whether it is possible to obtain all necessary nutrients needs to be answered.


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Back to traditional farms Part of the reason that livestock farms have become ecological disasters is that they have moved away from mimicking the environment in which animals exist naturally. Decades ago, before the big jump in production, livestock played a symbiotic role on cropland before or after production and providing essential fertilizer in the form of manure. But once farmers removed livestock from the land, the need for inputs jumped and the manure began to pile up.

These farms produce very little waste, provide a diversity of food, and give farmers a much needed sense of both food and economic security if prices for meat fluctuate. The farms also cut down on veterinary costs: Animals that are raised outdoors rarely suffer from the respiratory ailments and other illnesses common in factory farms. And because farmers raising grass-fed animals have fewer of them than factory farms do, they are much better at spotting and treating sick and injured animals and at preventing potential pandemics live avian flu. Raising cattle, cows, pigs, and chickens - and raising fewer of them - in a more natural environment also has some significant benefits for what is likely the most pressing environmental issue today: climate change. Researchers at the University of Wales are looking at how introducing different grasses - which are what ruminants are meant to eat - into cattle diets can help reduce the methane emissions from belching, flatulent cows. While the diet fed to cattle and dairy cows on factory farms encourages them to gain weight quickly, it also lads to a variety of digestive problems. Scientists believe that more-digestible feed will reduce these problems and thus help curb methane emissions. Source: Worldwatch.org

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Back to traditional farms

In places as diverse as the Philippines and Iowa in the U.S. some farmers are going back to more traditional methods of farm animal production. Outside Manila, for example, innovative farmers have learned from the centuries-long practice of raising livestock and fish together. By rearing hogs, chickens, and tilapia and by growing rice, these farms have created a self-sustaining system: the manure from the jogs and chickens fertilizes the algae in ponds needed for both tilapia and rice to grow. In central Iowa, pig farmers are remodeling “conventional” concrete sheds for raising pigs into open areas with deep bedding and outdoor access and raising heritage pig breeds like. These breeds are more used to living outdoors, and because the are allowed to forage, their meat is tastier and healthier than factory-farmed pork.


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Your World—Your Life—Your Choice Governments and policymakers can shift policy and enact regulations on food, but it is consumers and buyers who can rapidly reshape the market and make the most impact by voting with their food dollars. From farming friendly companies to major corporations, business is starting to meet consumer demand for safe, humane, and sustainable meat production. There are two sides to this innovation, the move by food industry to embrace ecologically sustainable food and label it as such and a reciprocal response from shoppers who see out this choice. In some cases, consumers help set the relationship in motion. Consumers need to rethink their relationship with meat in order to keep it on the menus in fine restaurants as well as on the plates of the people in the developing world. People will need to reconsider the place of meat in their diets. Raising animals outdoors on grass will necessarily mean that there are fewer of them to eat, and higher prices for sustainably and humanely raised meat will mean shifting this from the center of each meal. Many consumers are giving up meat altogether as the health and environmental benefits of doing so become clearer.

Don’t forget that heroic people don’t always conform to what is popular at a given time. You must be willing to be out of step with public opinion. If you are going to be a voice of the future, you can not be a creature of the current fads. John Robbins

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Recommended Reading Cover

Title

Author

Omnivore’s Dilemma A natural history of four meals.

Diet for a dead Planet: How the food industry is killing us.

Slaughterhouse: the shocking story of greed, neglect and inhumane treatment inside the U.S. meat industry

In Defense of Food: A eater’s manifest

The Food Revolution: How your diet can save your life and our world.

The Way we eat: Why our choices matter

31

Michael Pollan

Christopher D. Cook

Gail Eisnetz

Michael Pollan

John Robbins

Peter Singer, Jim Mason


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Useful Links American Institute for Cancer Research

www.aicr.org

Animal Place Center for food Savety

www.animalplace.org

Community Alliance with Family Farmers

www.caff.org

Earth Island institute Eat Less Meat

www.earthisland.org

Endangered Species Coalition

www.stopextinction.org

Factory Farming—Humane Society of the USA

www.hsus.org/farm

Farm Sanctuary Feedstuffs

www.farmsanctuary.org

Food & Water watch—Factory Farms

www.foodandwaterwatch.org

Food and Agrigulture Organization of United Nations Food Ethics Council

www.fao.org

Foot and Water

www.foodandwater.org

Friends of Animals

www.friendsofanimals.org

Friends of the Earth

www.foe.org

Global Footprint Network

www.footprintnetwork.org

GoVeg

www.goveg.com

Humane Society of the United States Humans Right Watch

www.hsus.org

Journal of Animal Science

Mongabay

jas.fass.org http://www.virtualcentre.org/en/library/key_pub/ longshad/a0701e00.htm www.mongabay.com

National Hog Farmers

www.nationalhogfarmers.com

North American Vegetarian Society NAVS Nutrition research and review

www.navs-online.org

Occupational Safety & Health Administration

www.osha.org

Organic Farming Research Foundation Poultry Science Association

www.ofrf.org

Rainforest Action Network

www.ran.org

Save Tables our Priority

www.stop-usa.org

Slaughterhouse—book

by gail a. eisnitz

The Food Revolution—book

www.foodrevolution.org

Tribe of Heart

www.tribeofheart.org

Union of Concerned Scientists

www.ucsusa.org

USDA

www.usda.gov

World Bank World Health Organization

www.worldbank.org

Worldwatch Institute

www.worldwatch.org

www.centerforfoodsafety.org

www.eatlessmeat.org

www.feedstuffs.com

www.hrw.org

Livestock’s Long Shadow

journals.cambridge.org

www.poultryscience.org

www.who.org

32

Useful Links

www.foodethicscouncil.org


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Produced by Provokare Presentations

For presentations and speeches contact:

Provokare Presentations Roberto Giannicola www.provokare.com

This booklet was developed based on the research from various websites, books and magazines. All information is duly referenced and available in more extended formats. 33

Factory Farming  

Modern factory farming techniques cause unnecessary suffering of animals.Meat-packing and processing plants workers face some ofthe poorest...

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