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HCC Central

Factory Farming and Globalization

Simone Lee
SOCI 1301
Professor Johnson
April 7, 2016

Simone Lee

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Professor Johnson
SOCI 1301
18 March 2016
Factory Farming and Globalization
In today’s world factory farming is the norm for global food production
and serves as an efficient and cheap way to feed the Earth’s population. If
seen from a purely financial perspective factory farming makes plenty of
sense. Very large numbers of animals (1,000 or more) are raised in a small
area, fed cheap genetically modified grains, and supplemented hormones
and antibiotics to maximize their growth potential in the shortest amount of
time. However, although factory farming may be convenient it has also
created disastrous effects for all people, animals, and the environment
involved in factory farming.
Factory farming has drastically altered the U.S. over the past 25 years
by replacing small farms with large, industrialized factory operations. And
according to the USDA, 2% of U.S. livestock facilities raise an estimated 40%
of all farm animals. This means that cows, pigs, and chickens are
concentrated in an extremely small number of huge farms. In the 1930s and
40s, large companies began to get into the farming business. So the
companies would hire farmers to grow and feed the animals for them, but
the farmers didn’t own the animals because the companies did. Therefore
the companies who owned the animals told the farmers exactly how to feed

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the animals, how to care for the animals, and when the animals would be
picked up for slaughter. The official government name for factory farms is
CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation), which is any farm that has
1,000 animal units or more. Now factory farming is on a much larger scale
with at least 9 billion animals in the factory farm business, who never see the
outside world, breathe fresh air, never see the sun, and live their entire lives
confined in small pens.
The types of animals that are confined on factory farms are usually
cows, chickens, and pigs, which are major sources of meat for the majority of
the population. These animals are sentient beings capable of feeling fear,
sadness, and loneliness, and are often beaten and mistreated inside the
factory farm system. They are confined by the thousands in huge
warehouses and are treated as products instead of living individuals. In fact,
many of them are packed in cages and crates so tight that they aren’t able
to walk, turn around, or stretch their limbs for their entire lives. Furthermore,
the animals are not fed the foods that they are genetically designed to eat.
Cows are supposed to eat only grass, however they are fed a diet based on
corn, grains, and soybeans instead in order to save money. And the same
goes for pigs and chickens too, who all have to eat a grain-based diet instead
of the foods they are naturally supposed to eat.
And because so many animals are packed together in extremely tight
spaces they are also fed antibiotics in order to prevent disease from ravaging
through the animals. But the severity of antibiotic use on farm animals is far

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worse than what one would imagine. It is fact that 80% of all misused
antibiotics are used on animals in factory farms, which is then consumed by
humans. However, disease is so rampant that the U.S.D.A. explicitly allows
diseased animals to be slaughtered and sold for food because not selling
these animals would result in major financial losses for agribusiness. And in
most cases, especially in chickens, antibiotic and hormone use is so severe
that the chickens grow too big at such a fast rate that their body
development isn’t able to catch up, which results in the chickens being so
large that they don’t even have the strength to lift up their legs or walk. So
not only are people eating animals that aren’t even fed the correct foods, but
they are eating meat filled with antibiotics which can cause them to become
resistant to antibiotics. This is a disastrous effect because it is also a fact that
antibiotics are widely over-prescribed to patients by doctors, and then if
you’re eating antibiotic filled meat this could increase your risk of developing
antibiotic resistance.
In addition to the health and safety risks involved with consuming
factory farm animals, factory farming has also severely damaged the
environment with untreated animal waste and more. Because the animals
are in such close proximity to one another there is not enough land to absorb
their waste and dead animal carcasses, therefore it must be liquefied. And
this liquefied manure and animal carcass combination is used to grow animal
feed while saving money on disposal and feed costs at the same time. This
liquefied manure is then flushed out into an open lagoon where the farmers

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can use it on what few crops they have to grow. But there is just too much
waste for the farmers to use, therefore it is often sprayed into waterways and
creeks, which have been known to seep, leak, and rupture. However, society
would never allow for untreated human waste to sit in the ground and be
sprayed into waterways and creeks, and yet because it’s agriculture the
standards are different.
A prime example of the severity of the influx of untreated animal
waste in waterways is the Neuse River in North Carolina. In the 1990s
hundreds of pig farms came to North Carolina, which is just around the time
that factory farming began to take over. In a book called, Animal Factory, it
tells the story of a fisherman named Rick Dove who noticed that the fish in
the Neuse River were dying in very unusual ways. First there were algae
blooms which sucked the oxygen out of the water, so all the fish, shrimp,
crabs, eels, and bass died. Then the Menhaden fish began developing round
red circles on their flanks which would make them swim into small circles and
abruptly die. And after this Rick and other fisherman developed red sores on
the parts of their skin that touched the water. Therefore Rick went into an
airplane to discover what was causing this to happen in the river, and what
he discovered was that the waste from the massive pig farms was causing all
of this. Sometimes he could even see the waste runoff going directly into the
water, and other times you could see the farmers spraying the waste night
and day because no one was watching them.

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In conclusion factory farming is the unfortunate cause of increasing
globalization and society’s demand for more cheap food and more money
over moral values. It’s putting the desire for money and business above the
lives of living animals which are killed every day on factory farms. These
animals literally live and die on a product line and are confined to a small
cage their entire life, and unfortunately 9 billion cows, pigs, and chickens live
out their lives this way. And as Mahatma Gandhi said, “The moral progress of
a nation can be judged by how its animals are treated”, which definitely
means that our moral values here in the U.S. are slowly vanishing. Where we
subject more than 9 billion farm animals to horrendous cruelties that
undermine our empathetic nature and humane feelings as human beings. If
factory farming continues not only will billions of animals continue to suffer,
but the environment, our health, and the misuse of antibiotics will continue
to worsen as well.

Works Cited:

1. Harari, Yuval Noah. "Industrial Farming Is One of the Worst Crimes in
History." The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 25 Sept. 2015. Web.
9 Mar. 2016.

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2. Lewis, Waylon. "This Is Factory Farming." Elephant Journal. Elephant
Journal, 9 May 2012. Web. 9 Mar. 2016.
3. Mercola, Joseph. "Factory Farms Are NOT the Way to Feed the World." Joseph Mercola, 23 Mar. 2011. Web. 9 Mar. 2016.
4. Moyer, Ph.D. Ellen. "Meat Eating -- What Should We Do?" The
Huffington Post. Web. 9 Mar. 2016.
5. Gene, Baur. "Factory Farming Is Not the Best We Have to Offer."
National Geographic Blogs. 13 Oct. 2011. Web. 9 Mar. 2016.
6. Suddath, Claire. "The Problem with Factory Farms." Time. Time Inc., 23

Feb. 2010. Web. 9 Mar. 2016.