There is a major shift taking place right now that may have consequences even those of us who are condemning it may not fully appreciate, much less explain to others. Actually, this so-called "shift" has been in the making for decades but, because it is being implemented so slow and surreptitiously, many people aren't even aware of what is taking place.
If they are aware, they either don't have the intellectual ability to discern the ramifications or realize that this is something that they simply can't do anything about . . . sadly, to some extent, they may be right.
Re-creating the Concept of "Farming"
Traditionally, families have run independent farms, many of them "small" farms. This is being changed at the "crops" level by giant corporations like Monsanto, which now owns patents to many seeds. Simply put, no one will be able to plant certain crops without their consent or participation.
Actually, that is not the worst part of the "crops" aspects of this story--although why the court system is allowing corporations to patent something they did not create is indeed worth condemning. The worst part is that corporations have taken it upon themselves to re-design seeds and organisms used in agriculture: thus the birth (or, should we say, "death") of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Like it or not, we are now consuming crops with science-prompted molecular changes that may have effects even the giant corporations cannot predict. Will these changes lead, for example, to even more rapacious cancer prevalence and incidence? No one knows the answer to that juicy question.
What About Animals Hitherto Raised in These Disappearing Farms?
As if the crops nonsense were not a big problem enough, there is also the question of animals more and more now being raised in so-called "factory" farms. These places are poorly-lit, badly ventilated, huge torture chambers where animals are exposed to some of the most horrid conditions ever seen on earth.
It's clear that most Americans--or, should we say, most politicians and corporate leaders--are not taking the awful abuse that goes on at these facilities seriously enough. But the fact that unimaginable abuse is taking place at these torture chambers is not the only thing consumers should be worried about--there is also the question of what these nasty facilities are doing to the quality of the meat they are putting out.
Is the Meat Being Put out by "Big Meat's" Torture Chambers Fit to Eat?
If you are not familiar with the term "Big Meat," you need to read "In the Belly of the Beast" by Paul Solotaroff published in Rolling Stone Magazine. By his own words, "Big Meat" is "the cartel of corporations that have swallowed family farms."
The fact is that the meat that these places are putting out is not fit for human consumption for a number of glaring reasons.
For one thing, the huge amounts of antibiotics that are daily pumped into these animals is threatening to destroy their immune systems in the long run. Such animals, in fact, may eventually succumb to many common diseases their immune systems will no longer be able to fend off on their own.
Such diseases will not only make the animals sick but may eventually translate into human-affecting zoonotic diseases like Ebola, AIDS, Smallpox, etc. To clarify: we may not get Ebola from eating McNuggets or handling raw meat from these places but, possibly, some other diseases passed on to us from animals, especially for anyone unfortunate enough to get exposed to their bodily fluids (as workers may experience). Such workers could then become unsuspecting carriers.
We need to also worry about the fact that these antibiotics may linger in the blood of these abused animals long enough to affect our own immune systems in the long run. What if we lose our ability to fend off many diseases because of this rampant, irresponsible use of antibiotics?
Indeed, many experts are warning that our best antibiotics may not work as well in the future not only because doctors over-prescribe them but because we are getting antibiotics exposure from places (the meats we consume every day) where antibiotics have no business being (at least not in the drastic quantities in question).
Then there is the issue of the growth hormones also being pumped into these animals. They may make chickens, cows and pigs grow faster and and plumper but, again, how will these hormones affect our own systems in the long run? Even if we took an optistic view, the consequences can easily be catastrophic from a public health (long-term) perspective.
There is just too much experimentation going on with our food and water supplies. All these technological changes may make meat (and other farmed products) cheaper and more accessible to the masses but at what price?
If these corporate torture farms, however, are threatening to endanger our health and lives by selling us meat that is, at best, "experimental," isn't that worth doing something about? Corporate giants will continue to compromise the quality of our foods as long as we ignorantly buy them.
It appears that there continues to be a slow awakening taking place as more people are choosing to buy from family farms, shop locally, buy organic, and some are becoming vegetarians. I hope that is enough. I don't think it is. Local farmers are literally under attack by the corporate factory farms and it's not looking good for them or us. Vote with your wallet and share your thoughts. What else can we do?
Copyright, 2015. Fred Fletcher. All rights reserved.
References & Resources
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