Eating Animals is an Ecological Land Mine as evidenced by the pollution levels of the ways that large numbers of cattle, hogs, horses, chickens, and fish are crowded into small contained spaces for profit and “efficiency.”
These pollution pits are known by various names according to the creatures contained within them; Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations or factory “farms” for cattle, Battery Cage System for Chickens where thousands of cages full of chickens are stacked one on another causing suffering and disease, and Fish Farming otherwise known As Aquaculture where, as with land animals, the concentrated numbers of fish cause dense pollution and lead to contamination and disease.
In addition, the places where animals are slaughtered cause incredible damage not only to the animals before they are killed but also to the workers in them as well as the environment. These are Cattle Slaughterhouses, and Horse Slaughterhouses, and the cruel means of Chicken Transport and Slaughterhouses among others.
Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs)
Factory Farming or “Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations“ are some of the largest polluters on the planet and the growth of these pollution centers is continuously growing. The flesh that you eat from these animals is also contaminated with antibiotics and growth hormones which get into the food supply.
The Sierra Club, in their article Water Sentinels: Factory Farms wrote that “Factory farms, also known as Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations, or CAFOs, are a major polluter of America’s waterways and a major cause of air pollution in rural communities. Unlike traditional agriculture, factory farms pack hundreds to hundreds of thousands of animals into confinement buildings.”
Animals who “live” in CAFOs end up as steaks in your fridge. These animals are force-fed and they live in terrible conditions. These animals are fed ground up bones from other animals, making carnivores out of cows; this is a claimed source of SARS or “mad cow” disease. They are fed growth hormones so that they produce more animal flesh and milk faster. If you eat the flesh of such a creature or drink its milk, you get these hormones. All these animals are crammed together into a filthy and relatively small place and they get sick easily so they are therefore fed antibiotics. These antibiotics get into the flesh that you will buy at the market and then you eat it!! Although there are laws against using antibiotics for a limited period before the slaughter of the animal, many feeders ignore these laws and are seldom caught. Unfortunately some of this effluent ends up in your body and if you are allergic to antibiotics you can die.
“The exposure to chemical contaminates, like antibiotics, in drinking water also creates problems for public health. In order to maximize animal production, CAFOs have used an increasing number of antibiotics, which in turn, increases bacterial resistance. This resistance threatens the efficacy of medical treatment for humans fighting bacterial infections.”
(Source: Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations: Public Health Concerns).
Pollution of your water, air and land and topsoil loss are due to excessive herding and confining of “food” animals. The waste from these “feeding lots” gets into your soil and water and pollutes it with bacteria and the other waste products of the junk these animals are fed. Methane gas, produced by millions of confined animals, is one major cause of the global greenhouse effect.
“The direct discharge of manure from CAFOs and the accompanying pollutants (including nutrients, antibiotics, pathogens, and arsenic) is a serious public health risk. The contamination of groundwater with pathogenic organisms from CAFOs can threaten drinking water resources, and the transfer of pathogens through drinking water contamination can lead to widespread outbreaks of illness. The EPA estimates that about 53% of people in the United States rely on groundwater resources for drinking water.”
(Source: Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations: Public Health Concerns).
Factory farms generate 500 million tons of manure annually. Cities must treat their sewage before discharging it to the environment, however, CAFOs store their liquefied excrement in large dirt cesspools called lagoons, or in piles of solids called “litter.” This litter of raw waste is then spread on the surrounding cropland. Waste pipelines sometimes rupture and result in large spills, in addition, after a heavy rainfall, polluted runoff washes the wastes into waterways. This results in massive fish kills and dangerous bacterial ground and surface water contamination. Air pollution from factory farms contains poisonous gases such as hydrogen sulfide and creates stupefying odors that sicken rural neighbors.
Livestock Production Systems Management are lacking wherein “parts of Europe and the USA…animal waste production can exceed the absorptive capacity of land and water…a series of negative implications on the environment, including biodiversity losses, groundwater contamination, and soil pollution…”
(Solution: shut down and clean up these pollution farms)
(How many hamburgers do you consume?) Did you know that in the United States alone, nearly 9 billion pounds of hamburger is consumed annually? The lack of effective and strict management of livestock production systems, creates another problem where “animal waste production can exceed the absorptive capacity of land and water.” The earth and the water near these facilities are overcome and are saturated with toxic waste from the millions of animals it takes for you to eat that burger.
Let us take a look at how this works out in numbers:
Cheap burgers in paradise In 1989 the average American consumed “nearly 30 pounds of hamburger a year — three burgers per person per week, totaling 38 billion annually, which, placed end to end, would form a heavenly chain of hamburgers 1.8 million miles long.”
As of January 2013, there were 316,809,000 people in the United States. Let us imagine, just for the sake of argument, that of this 316 million people, “only” 290 million, the 1989 US population, eat hamburgers regularly.
In 1989 there were nearly 290,000,000 people in the US who, on average, consumed 30 pounds of hamburger each, for a total of over 8.7 billion pounds annually.
A “full-grown” beef steer, immediately before it is slaughtered, is between 18 and 24 months of age. Its weight would typically be between 1,400 pounds (635 kilograms) and 1,763.7 pounds (800 kilograms).
An average “yield” of edible cattle flesh is around 62% of the whole animal after its non-edible parts have been taken away. This then “yields” about 80% after the fat and bones have been taken away. The yield on the take home weight from the live weight of the (VERY LEAN) steer is approximately 50%.
(Source: Beef Carcass Breakdown)
In order to put that hamburger on your plate, at least half the flesh of the animal killed is not eaten. Therefore, between 10 million and up to 14 million cattle are kept in confined feeding operations and have to be killed every year.
1989 population: 290,000,000
290,000,000 x 30 pounds of hamburger annually = 8,700,000,000 (over 8 billion)
8,700,000,000 pounds / 1400 pounds per small steer = 6,214,286 cattle at 1400 pounds
8,700,000,000 pounds / 1763 pounds per large steer = 4,934,770 cattle at 1763 pounds
Eating three burgers, per person, per week:
3 burgers x 52 weeks = 156 annual burgers
156 burgers x 290,000,000 people = 45,240,000,000 annually (45 billion)
If you have a plant diet you eliminate this “middle animal” and go right to the source of your food. All of this for hamburgers alone? How banal…
(Solution: do NOT eat the flesh of animals)
Slaughterhouses for Cattle-Big Money
Slaughterhouses are where it all begins. They are also havens for disease as well as serious health and safety considerations for those who work in such places. “If Slaughterhouses Had Glass Walls” all of you would be able to observe the areas where cattle, chickens, pigs, turkeys and even fish are killed and cut up. (Historically, some doubted that fish could experience pain. However, laboratory experiments have shown that fish do react to painful stimuli (e.g. injections of bee venom) in a similar way to mammals.)
You should really visit where your “food” comes from. Take a “tour” of your local slaughterhouse. You may find that they are more than offensive, they are cruel, inhumane, they smell terrible, they may make you vomit.
For her book Slaughterhouse, Gail Eisnitz, chief investigator for the Humane Farming Association (HFA), “interviewed slaughterhouse workers in the U.S. who say that, because of the speed with which they are required to work, animals are routinely skinned while apparently alive, and still blinking, kicking, and shrieking. Eisnitz argues that this is not only cruel to the animals, but also dangerous for the human workers…slaughterhouse workers…told her that they have beaten, strangled, boiled, and dismembered animals alive, or have failed to report those who do.”
Hard Time On The Killing Floor: Inside Big Meat By Jeffrey St. Clair of CounterPunch.org. The IBP Inc. plant in Pasco, Washington, is one of the nation’s biggest slaughterhouses. “According to workers, animal flesh at the plant is routinely contaminated with cattle feces because workers on the processing line are not give enough time to wash their hands. Under pressure from aggressive plant managers, flesh that falls on the floor, which is often littered with flesh byproducts and entrails, is often immediately placed back on the line without being cleansed.”
USDA Spins Slaughterhouse Video: Live From the Killing Floor by Martha Rosenberg February 05, 2008. “You wouldn’t think you could ‘spin’ a video that shows slaughterhouse workers electric shocking downer cows, ‘water boarding’ them, jabbing their eyes with herding paddles and ramming them with forklift blades while they squeal in pain, but USDA is trying.”
Undercover at Smithfield Foods (2012 Webby Award Winner) . An investigator from The Humane Society of the United States documented the suffering endured by female breeding pigs held in severely restrictive gestation crates on a factory farm operated by a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork producer.
They’re called Ag-Gag Bills: Keep Consumers in the Dark, and “they’re meant to keep the treatment of animals at factory farms a secret. The bills would criminalize anyone who records the conditions at these farms in order to keep consumers in the dark.”
(Solution: do NOT eat the flesh of animals)
Horse Slaughterhouses-For Food?
You knew that horses are routinely killed for their flesh to eat didn’t you? If not, you do now. slaughter houses for horses? states that “One of the most baffling issues surrounding the equine world is horse slaughter in the United States. Horse slaughter in our country exists for the sole purpose of providing horse-flesh to foreign countries. Europeans and Asians who consume this product consider it a delicacy and willingly pay a high premium.” In the USA, horse-flesh, which is forbidden by law to be consumed domestically, and is considered culturally repugnant, is exported to foreign countries.
(Solution: do NOT eat horses)
Battery Cage System for Chickens
What about chickens, did you have a nice omelette for breakfast? Chickens are kept in unsanitary and painful conditions and provide unsafe food for the people who eat their flesh and eggs. In what is called the battery cage system, tens of thousands of hens are crammed into cages inside a long shed without windows. The cages are so small that the hens cannot perform even a minimal amount of natural behaviour such as walking, pecking, scratching, dust bathing or perching. “Each bird has less than the size of an A4 piece of paper each in which to move.”
The cages, which often hold as many as 80 chickens, are stacked in as many as nine rows on top of each other allowing their droppings to cover those below. Keeping these creatures in such confined spaces knowingly causes suffering and can lead to a diseased environment prompting the uses of antibiotics. In the UK nearly half of all eggs produced come from caged hens and “about 80 per cent of eggs used as ingredients in products like mayonnaise, cakes and sandwiches are from hens kept in cages.”
(Solution: do NOT eat the flesh of chickens)
Fish Farming – Also Known As Aquaculture
Fish Farming, also known asAquaculture, is one of the fastest growing sectors in world food production. Aquaculture is a source of pollution as well as a potential contaminant of the fish which are eaten. Fish are not often those caught in clean oceans or rivers. (If there are clean ocean shores and rivers left that is.) Intensive fish farms produce high volumes of biological waste, primarily from uneaten food and waste material.
Other problems include disease outbreaks, chemical pollution, and escapes of genetically modified fish, which can dilute the gene pool of wild fish and displace them altogether. Lead and mercury are both found in the fish of even “farm” fish. There is also the issue of ecology and balance. For example, all the cod off the northeast coast of the US have disappeared because of excessive fishing practices. That is why the fishermen in the film “The Perfect Storm” were in such a perilous place, because there are no longer any cod close to Cape Cod.
9 Surprising Fish Farming Facts
“Due to overfishing, over 70% of the world’s fish are either fully exploited or depleted. As a result, fish farming, or aquaculture, has quickly stepped up to meet the demands of fish consumption. While there are methods of sustainable and environmentally friendly fish farming, many of the current methods employed are unregulated and can be extremely harmful to the environment.”
(Source: (PHOTOS) Our Oceans Huffington Post by Travis Walter Donovan)
Help Protect the Oceans. “The single greatest threat to marine ecology is over-fishing. Catch sizes now regularly exceed sustainable levels, a trend that could have devastating consequences for the health of our oceans. Yet worldwide demand is increasing…The problems caused by fishing fleets are not limited to the fish species they target. The marine environment is little understood, and the effect on the ecosystem of the removal of thousands of fish every day is difficult to estimate. However, some consequences of large-scale commercial fishing (particularly those using drift nets, purse seine nets and trawl nets) are obvious.”
(Solution: do NOT eat fish)
You have now seen evidence that eating the flesh of animals is an Ecological Land Mine creating huge pollution levels because huge numbers of cattle, hogs, horses, chickens, and fish are crowded into small contained spaces for profit and “efficiency.”
Moving right along, now let’s follow the arrows to learn how you might Overcome Culturally Learned Eating Habits ->>>.