A two-year research indicates that the way America produces meat, dairy products, and eggs is unsustainable, creates significant public health risks from antibiotic resistance and diseases, damages the environment and unnecessarily harms animals, the report says
. This is also illustrated in The Meatrix
A joint project of the non-profit Pew Charitable Trusts and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, it focuses on problems caused by a nationwide move to large, industrial-style animal-feeding facilities.
Meat, milk and eggs have become cheaper in the years since the rise of industrial animal farms. But those methods have come at a cost, the report says. They include:
- The use of antibiotics in animal feed to boost growth rather than to fight actual disease. This increases the possibility that antibiotic-resistant strains of disease will surface in animals and people.
- Large, confined feeding operations that bring together tens of thousands of chickens, pigs or cattle. These produce enormous amounts of animal waste that can foul water supplies, spread disease and cause respiratory problems, including higher asthma rates in people working and living nearby.
- The report calls for a 10-year phaseout of troubling animal-farming practices, including the use of crates that keep pregnant sows from turning around and severely restrict sows' movements while nursing, small battery cages for laying hens, the force-feeding of geese or duck to produce foie gras (which is their fattened livers) and cutting the tails of dairy cattle.
"Consumers can play an important part by asking for more information about how the animals are raised and slaughtered...The food retail industry will respond when consumers' expectations change," panel chairman John Carlin of Kansas State University said.
...some facts according to the study:
In 1970, Americans each consumed an average 195 pounds of red meat and poultry, costing 4.2% of their income. In 2005, it was 221 pounds of meat and poultry, which cost 2.1%.
Americans eat more animal-derived food products per capita than any other country.
Industrial animal feeding and production facilities produce three times as much waste annually as do every man, woman and child in the USA.
Since 1994, the average number of animals per swine operation has increased 2.8 times; for egg production, 2.5 times; for chicken, 2.3 times; and for cattle, 1.6 times.
I hope more of these studies get published in the news. This news was one of the top stories this morning; however, apparently USATODAY.com
has hidden it to the bottom this afternoon probably due to the watchful meat industry.