Free «Industrial Agriculture vs. Health and Safety Issues» Essay
The second myth states that the food produced by industrial agriculture is safe, healthy and nutritious. In reality, GMO products with their high risk for consumer’s health became an inseparable part of our lives. As a result of the use of pesticides, chemical fertilizers, bacteria and hormones in modern industrial agriculture on a large scale, there is a growing rate of food-borne illnesses and cancer. Implementation of toxic chemicals and carcinogenic pesticides has led to cancer epidemic (Alavanja), which affects not only consumers but is a great problem for farmers as well. Among other outcomes are possible injuries to brain, nervous, immune and reproductive systems (Schafer).
The goal of a farming factory is to produce as much product as possible, even if it means destroying environment, abusing the animals and endangering human health. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, most of the contact and ingestion of dangerous additives comes to human bodies with food, air (in case people live near the farm), and even water (Zerbe). Factory farms contaminate many sources of human drinking water. Cattle alone produce one million tones of waste and the places where they are kept often leak into drinking sources. Cows are only allowed to live a small percentage of their normal lifespan and are constantly fed antibiotics and hormones, in order to prevent disease and increase growth. Therefore, when people eat this meat, they are ingesting the hormones and antibiotics that were fed to the cows. The use of antibiotics results in antibiotic resistant bacteria which makes illness more common in livestock of humans, although the antibiotics do prevent the spread of diseases among the livestock to some extent. The animals that become sick before the scheduled slaughter are given no medical aid and are slaughtered as soon as possible. Chickens are fed hormones to produce more eggs than they would naturally do and are forced to living in extremely unsanitary conditions, as their cages are rarely cleaned. Cows’ breeds that produce milk are fed hormones, so that their milk has three times more protein and fat than it naturally would. This milk is sold for human consumption and it affects people’s hormone levels’ growth.
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Industrial agriculture corporations try to persuade us that they work hand in hand with farmers and they are here to give people good healthy food and rescue them from starving. Everywhere food laws are being introduced in the name of safety to the consumer, even trying to persuade us that pesticides are safe (Schafer) but in reality, what is being introduced is hazardous food with additives, chemicals, and irradiation. Industrial farming has a huge pesticide dependency, which, in turn, makes a large proportion of our food toxic. Moreover, industrial food is dangerous and is getting increasingly deadly and not nutritious. Agricultural corporations insist that by using chemical additives, they manage to increase productivity of some crops and may reduce the total land area needed for food production. From the economic side, it is good to produce large amounts of food and the goods and make it all available to the consumers. If we measure the quality of life in terms of availability of goods then we can say that it has improved. But if we look at the aggressive marketing, that is going on to consumers and the kind of increasing portion sizes that we have seen, one of the biggest consequences is the obesity epidemic that is plaguing not just the United States. Although, the United States is probably a world leader in the obesity epidemic, around the world in the developed countries, where the industrial agriculture is employed, obesity is one of the side effects that follows quickly (Kimbrell 13). This obesity epidemic is going to cost a society a lot in terms of medical care.
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Introduction of antibiotics and vitamins led to the ability to take animals from the outdoors, where they used to live, and bring them in to be indoors. Cows, chicken and even fish are raised in farms, because they can be raised more efficiently for the production in a very overcrowded and dark setting, in order to maximize the production of meat. So, where a cow might actually in nature be grass-fed and roaming around in a pasture, in a farm, the grass is replaced with something that is inexpensive - corn. The cows are then kept in close quarters, actually quite still, so that they cannot walk around and instead they are fed in a sort of a peace feeding troughs, which makes them get fatter quicker and that, of course, means more money for the companies that are selling this product. Because the cows are not meant to be fed on diets of corn, they are kept healthy with vitamin supplements and also with the use of antibiotics because the conditions in which they are being kept are often unsanitary. They are often standing in their own waste, while they are almost force-fed with these large amounts of corn, in order for them to get fat and ready for slaughter sooner.