Industrial Animal Agriculture

March 30, 2011
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Industrial animal agriculture harvests exceedingly negative aspects towards the United States and its citizens, such as: the promotion of institutionalized animal cruelty, the extensive destruction to the environment, and the grave risks to human health. The statistics that follow will speak for themselves along with the plethora of information presented. As Linda McCartney said, “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone in the world would be a vegetarian.”
The practice of this industry is inhumane and exceedingly unjust. This begins with the severe cruelty exalted upon the animals being taken to slaughter. Slaughterhouses have violated nearly every law and restriction placed on their industry. Just about everything in the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act in 1960 is being violated on a daily basis. Rules as early in the process as the loading of the animals are broken every second. In the process of loading alone, the animals will suffer excruciating pain by unwillingly trampling each other to death, blinding one another with their horns just to speed up the loaders process. Animals are crammed together so close in transportation vehicles that they are unable to move and can barley take a breath. Often the transporters make rapid turns and hasty stops that cause the precious cargo to get knocked around and injured. The animals collapse onto each other which cause increased suffocation and several broken bones. The law states that in that process they are entitled to the basic necessities of food, water, veterinary care, and protection from all and any natural elements. However these animals very seldom to never get even a sheer glimpse of these things. After arriving at their site of death the unloading process that follows is appalling. The “handlers,” don’t bother handling with care because they figure the animals are about to face the butchers knife anyway. Red chili powder is put into their eyes to force them to move faster through the unloading process. The animals are beaten and severely tortured to accomplish getting them to their uninviting destination quicker. One of the next leading issues that follow the unloading is that the animals are not supposed to be exposed to the slaughter of their own kind. However they are constantly subjected to watching. These animals spend their entire lives in crates so small that they are unable to even turn around and fed a diet tainted with pesticides and antibiotics. It’s also against the law to slaughter animals below 6 months, pregnant animals, sick animals, and young animals who are supplying milk. However in one particular case in Texas, they were found to have 22 violations during a span of 6 months. Ethical concerns often evolve beyond solely human considerations. Animals are sentient creatures with brains imbued with some extent of consciousness. Vertebrate animals experience physical and emotional turmoil such as pain, fear, excitement and familial bonding. This is evidenced by several scientific studies. If this is, “The American Way,” then citizens who follow and support such practices shall suffer for their inhumane justification of themselves.
Supporting this industry not only promotes severe amounts of cruelty, but it is causing damage to the environment that all humans inhabit. The consumption of meat harms the environment and is economically improvident. Raising animals for food generates more greenhouse gases than every car and truck in the world combined. According to a study performed by researchers at the University of Chicago, most Americans have the ability to reduce more greenhouse gas emissions by becoming a vegan than they could ever do by switching to a hybrid electric car. Switching to a vegan diet prevents 1.5 tons of CO2 emissions per year. That is significantly more than the 1 ton of CO2 emissions prevented by switching from a large sedan to a Toyota Prius. Not only is this hazardous to the air American citizens breathe, it I wasteful to the land they walk on. Growing feed for farmed animals requires synthetic fertilizers which are manufactured with fossil fuels. This process emits CO2, and the fertilizer releases nitrous oxide. Ecologist David Pimentel estimated that animal protein requires about eight times as much fossil fuel as plant protein. The amount of land itself needed to produce a one-year food supply for a person on a meat-eating habit is 3.25 acres. The amount needed for a one-year food supply for a vegetarian is 1/6 acre. John Robbins in his book Diet for a New America, quoted Lester Brown of the Overseas Development Council for estimating that if Americans reduce their consumption of meat by a mere 10%, the amount of grain used for livestock could be diverted to direct human consumption and would adequately feed the 60 million people who die from hunger each year. The amount of grain used in one day to feed livestock for meat in the United States alone would provide two loaves of bread every day for each person in the entire world. Perhaps American’s should take their being the, “Bread Basket,” to a new level. This isn’t only affecting the United States. Production of meat in countries trying to imitate the American lifestyle is a chief cause of deforestation. This is due to the jungle habitats which are being replaced with huge ranches to raise livestock. Perhaps the most rigorous environmental stunting done by this industry is not the air or land, but the liquid factor. The production of meat takes away one of the necessary components of the human diet, water. Producing one pound of meat requires roughly 2,500 gallons of water. This is more than twelve times as much water as would be needed for a vegetarian lifestyle. Whether it's the overuse of resources, global warming, massive water or air pollution, raising animals for food is wreaking havoc not only on the country but on the Earth itself.
The most dominant reason that would instantly and directly affect the lives of America is the health costs of a meat based diet, and benefits of a plant based one. A vegetarian diet is more healthful than the average American diet, particularly in preventing, treating, or reversing heart disease as well as reducing the risk of cancer. Cardiovascular disease kills 1 million Americans annually. It is the leading cause of death in the United States. The mortality rate for cardiovascular disease is notably lower in vegetarians. The current, “normal diet, “relies on too much of unnecessary food products or toxins. Dairy products and meats contain the largest amount of saturated fats. By reducing them the overall health of Americans would improve tremendously. It is estimated that 95 percent of pesticide residue in the typical American diet comes from meat, fish and dairy products. Fish, in particular, contain carcinogens and heavy metals can not by any means be removed through cooking or freezing. Meat and dairy products are also found to be laced with steroids and hormones. Expanding on that, the human body isn’t even designed to digest cow milk and yet the idea of milk being healthy is pushed through advertising. As many as 75% of people in the world may be lactose intolerant unknowingly suffer from undiagnosed milk allergies. Americans also consume way more than the recommended portion of sugar. By switching to other sweeteners and not synthetic, processed ones derived from animal products would make for a more healthful diet. Lastly the most common reason for humans eating large amounts of meat is protein. The fact that protein is good for your body can not be denied. However most Americans eat too much protein in forms such as red meat. Although meat may contain some protein the negative aspects outweigh the amount of it obtained. Beans, nuts, peas, lentils, and soy products are more efficient ways to obtain the right amount of protein. Additional health benefits include but are not limited to preventing diseases ranging from type 2 diabetes to several types of cancer. A diet void of meat will also aid in the physical improvement of anything from your skin to how long you will live. Therefore converting would make the United States a healthier, brighter, nation. We would achieve so much more in the time we are allotted due to a healthier lifestyle
It is evident on three levels that the United States would be far better off without industrial animal agriculture. If we opt out of it we would have happier, healthier animals, a greener environment, and a longer lifespan for our citizens. America can take strides to achieving these goals, one citizen at a time; to undo the damage done by what we thought was traditionally acceptable.





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