The Fate of Food
The hidden methods used to produce the food we consume today are unethical. These methods include the usage of chemicals, and abuse of workers and animals. The process of producing food goes on everyday but as consumers, we are unaware of how it is done. A vast majority of Americans are not aware of the highly mechanized structure of the industrial food system. Determined to capitalize on profit and production, social responsibility and food safety has taken a backseat to the industrial food system.
The three most significant problems of the industrial food system are animal cruelty, the lack of biodiversity, and the treatment of farm workers, and these problems can be resolved by creating more efficient food agencies, government subsidies for small organic farmers, and agencies that protect farmers’ rights).
The industrial food system is the cause of animal cruelty because of factory farms. The treatment of farm animals is “barbaric” (Blatt 2008, 195). The procedure for raising farm animals is inhumane. Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) is a process of the industrial farming system that separates animals from their natural habitat and confines them into farmhouses with thousands of other livestock. (Walsh 2009) In modern factory farms, animals are crowded into dirty, windowless farmhouses and cramped in “wire cages”, and “gestation crates”. (Niman 2009, 101) Hogs for example are confined in these factory farms for twenty-four hours a day. This raises a lot of issues because these animals will never have the chance to raise their families, enjoy free-range, or roam in grassy fields. Newborn piglets are separated from their mothers. The animals are deprived of access to fresh air and are fed through feeds containing drugs that weaken their immune system. According to Blatt, chickens develop a stress due to antibiotic drugs and they die. A report released in 2003 by an animal activist organization showed that “857 million animals of various kinds did not make it to the slaughterhouse having suffered from disease, malnutrition…” (Blatt 2008, 120)
Food regulatory systems in other countries have taken strict actions to protect animal welfare, but U.S. Department of Agriculture has not taken any significant action against the claims of the IFS concerning the treatment of animals. Although the factory farm industry claims that some of their methods such as tail docking in hogs, beak trimming in poultry, and the use of battery cages reduce tail biting, and infections, such methods cause the animals to suffer. According to Niman, pig tails are cut off without anesthesia, and this method has not shown any benefits. (Niman 2009, 108) The confinement of chickens in small cages has been banned in Austria, making their chickens “free range”. (Blatt 2008, 120) The Japanese hold memorial services for their chickens. The European Union has prohibited tail docking, but the USDA has not addressed the issue. It remains lenient to...