Human life is both complex and eccentric, even more so when you’re a teen. Well if you think being a teenager is hard, imagine being in a cage with nowhere to go surrounded by your own feces, giving birth and accidently crushing your young, and even worse living every second of your life without a single joy in the world. Unfortunately, animals living in Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOS) face these atrocities every day. You may now be thinking, here goes another vegetarian extremist trying to obliterate meat-eaters around the world, but that is quite the contrary. Coming from a Dominican family, I have been eating meat all my life and meat has always been an important staple of my diet. My diet consists of plantain and salami in the morning, a turkey and Swiss sandwich for lunch, and rice beans and meat for dinner. Why then am I writing an article about the inhumane treatment of animals and the sordid lives of animals on CAFOS? Do you know where your meat comes from? This article is not about denouncing meat, it is about being a conscious eater and knowing where your meat is coming from. I have been blindly eating meat for 16 years and until now have never considered where my meat is coming from. When I think of a farm, I think of vibrant green grass, a rustic barn house, and animals grazing along on old McDonald’s farm. Well that image couldn’t be any farther from the truth. In today’s capitalistic society, old family owned farms are being driven to extinction by CAFOS. CAFOS are animal factories where animals are treated no better than the ground you walk on. If animals do not have feelings why then are pigs more intellectually advanced than dogs and even exceed the intellectual capacity of some three year olds? If animals have no feelings why then do they scream when they’re tails are being cut in order to prevent cannibalism due to an immense amount of stress? Animals in CAFOS are never given the chance to fulfill their natural roles in life. Babe the pig will never get to see sunshine or form relationships with his friends, nor will he get to experience roll around in mud and feel the warm caress of his owner’s hand. Most animals in CAFOS are artificially inseminated and held in cages they cannot even move around in for days. Could you survive months in a box with a pregnant stomach? What if you were fed with so many growth hormones that your legs crush under your own weight? The man responsible for this horror movie is no one other than capitalism and greedy companies only worried about getting those big bucks. Is cheap meat really worth the environmental damage we are causing to our planets? CAFOS contribute to various environmental issues that are plaguing the modern world such as water contamination, global warming, and deforestation. Factories typically store manure from their animals into manmade lagoons which often leak. Because of poor regulation, manure is allowed to contaminate surrounding areas and affect the lives of a town’s inhabitants. Manure from livestock can be so deadly that one can die from falling into a pool of manure. Also, because livestock are being fed so much grain in order to expedite growth, they are producing much more methane which accounts for 9% percent of human-caused carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Not only are CAFOS but these factories are putting our lives at risk. I hope your steak was juicy because the nice steak you just ate was loaded with pesticides and antibiotics. In order to prevent diseases from spreading animals are exposed to large amounts of pesticides and antibiotics which may not leave an animal’s system. Also, the recent outbreak of Swine flu can be traced back to the factory farms in Mexico. I wonder why disease spreads so quickly among large overcrowded animal factories. When I first began to research CAFOS I was shocked and angry that I was unknowingly supporting the insane treatment of animals and adding pesticides to my body almost every day. The good news is, there is a way to eat meat, be healthy, and protect our beloved mother earth. Next time you go to the grocery store look for grass fed meat or better yet buy from your local farmers! Also, if you are bored during class or if Face book is not working, type in Google and look at some videos concerning Factory farms, you will never look at your meat the same ever again. Also, call your local legislature and protest the mistreatment of animals and demand more regulation on how the meat industry is run in the United States. A change needs to be made and chance can only come from strong opposition. Stop the mistreatment of millions of animals in our nation. We have the right to a healthy mother earth and a healthy body so stop CAFOS in America today!