Last Updated 27 May 2020

Animal Welfare

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Nicole Stengel ENG 122-009 Lawless, Caprice 04/ 11/12 Thesis Confined animal feeding operations (CAFO’s) are more commonly known as factory farms in the United States and are this country’s primary source of animal food products. Mass production of meat in The U. S. has continued to increase industrialization of itself for over the course of a century. As technology within factory farms advances, efficiency increases; profit is the primary goal in mind for these industrial owners.

In the 19th century, industrialization of CAFO’s thrived in efficiency and profits with new procedures that divide labor duties, cut expenses and decreased interaction between workers and livestock (Purcell, 61). The most primary difference between CAFO’s and local farming is that CAFO’s are corporately owned, confining hundreds of thousands of animals in small spaces at one time, reducing labor expenses and necessity for land ownership (An Encyclopedia of Issues). Local farms are more traditional having an appropriate ratio of livestock to workers.

These livestock are less likely to suffer from neglect, abuse or unethical slaughter procedures. The tactics of meat production within CAFO’s such as the forklift and assembly lines, as well as controlled growth rates are least concerned with animal welfare and most concerned with profit as well as production efficiency. The establishers of this industry have been able to increase profits substantially by technological advancements as such devices and the use of growth hormones in livestock to obtain a fortune of income for themselves.

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Unfortunately, the fortune the establishers continue to earn is handed to them at a detrimental cost to three areas of importance: a) Animal Suffering b) Consumer Health c) Environmental Hazards Animal Suffering Slaughter processes are very brutal within CAFO’s and are usually long lasting in terms of suffering. CAFO livestock are exposed to neglect, abuse, physical mutilation and psychological trauma. Most livestock agriculture within CAFO’s are so closely compacted next to each other in tiny cages, they catch diseases from living in each other’s bodily wastes(In-text note).

They live in sickly environmental conditions, they do not leave their cages and never see the light of day-except, perhaps when being transported to slaughter. One procedure that occurs prior to slaughter common in CAFO’s is known as, “stunning” where cows are shot by a metal bolt to the head. Hogs are stricken with an electrical jolt. This, in all is to shock the livestock subject unconscious. However, terrified cows and hogs who attempt inhibition of this process are often left partially, or even completely conscious.

Nevertheless, meat production does not slow down at the sake of one subject. The subject will be preceded to slaughter regardless of whether it is conscious or not (Freeman, 66). Chickens, however, were exempted from the Humane Slaughter Act from the stunning process. Instead, they are paralyzed by the dragging of their heads along underwater pools with electrical charges. After they are paralyzed (and fully conscious), they are continued through the slaughter process on machinery that boils them alive and/or chops their heads off consecutively on a fast paced line (Freeman, 78).

Calves are kept confined in small crates tied up by their limbs and necks to keep them from moving in order to keep their muscles premature and their meat tender. Meanwhile, their diets are maintained deficient in iron to keep the color of their skin pale. The harsh conditions exposed to calves are willfully condemned upon them by farm operators as a mechanism to obtain a specific taste in the meat. It is not surprising that when compared to all diseases that spread among livestock in CAFO’s, calves are the most susceptible to fatality. Calve deaths range from 15-20% in most “successful” factory farm operations.

Other than iron deficiency and confinement, this fatality for calves is also caused by their stress of separation from their mothers (Mason 25). `CAFO’s also process animals are through “skinning machinery” at fast paces. (Purcell, 71). Regardless as to whether the animal is conscious or not, the fast paces of machinery such as this leaves no time between subjects for any concern for animal welfare. Costs to Public Health On a secondary note, mass production of meat is linked to the spread of salmonellosis and mad cow disease to consumers (Encyclopedia of Environmental Politics).

It also contributes to a lack of resistance to antibiotic bacterial infections in consumers because factory farmed animals are fed high doses of antibiotics. Heart disease and stroke are also associated with diets high in meat intake (Encyclopedia of Environmental Politics), especially that of poor quality. Controlled growth rates by the use of hormones such as estrogen and testosterone in livestock also play a role in public health hazards, in addition to mechanisms for profit and industrialization. The average U. S. citizen consumes 607 pounds of animal products yearly.

Many nutritionists believe USDA Dietary Guideline Advisory Committee to be excessive in protein anyway (Mason, 113). Animal sources of protein are rich in cholesterol and polyunsaturated fat. Consider this, The United States is one of the most obese countries in the world. Our food guide pyramid is much different from other parts of the world with nutrition habits clinically proven to be more beneficial, such as the Mediterranean Diet. According to Andrea Cespedes in a comparison between the two pyramids, protein portions are much larger for a daily value recommendation on the USDA chart when compared to that of the Mediterranean’s. Nuts and seeds, as well as beans, are grouped with meats, poultry and fish. Nuts and seeds are not foundation foods for the USDA pyramid” (Cespedes). Fish are rich in polyunsaturated fat, an essential fatty acid to the body. It is not surprising that the USDA Food Pyramid puts a stronger emphasis on animal proteins than the Mediterranean Pyramid, requiring some of them to be served in school lunch programs-many USDA Reps are financially tied to the meat industry! In 1998, the USDA elected six representatives out of eleven onto the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Freeman, 98).

These fattening meats infused with growth hormones (testosterone or estrogen) that are recommended for children may be a reasonable explanation for peculiar bra sizes and premature sweating in some young girls. Technological upgrades and new mechanisms of industrialization also play a large role in the CAFO costs to consumer health. Upgrades are used to cut expenses and to increase product quantities in order to increase profits for the industries. Purcell demonstrates a strong example of this concept. …Mechanization of slaughterhouse facilities, which made killing a rapid, iecemeal, impersonal process. The knocker alone would confront live animals and quickly send them down the line as immobile carouses. Divided labor meant a series of discrete and relatively simple tasks for the largely unskilled and poorly paid immigrant workers (Purcell, 62). Procedures as such, indeed are the mechanisms that make the mass production of meat a multi-billion dollar industry accounting for unjust and dangerous working conditions for slaughterhouse workers and hazards to the health for consumers of these products. Costs to the Environment

On a third note, CAFO’s inflict a variety of hazards to the environment. Animal waste is absorbed into the ground and distributes pollution to water. The consumption of electricity in CAFO’s is extremely demanding. Greenhouse gases that emit into the air from these establishments warm the earth deteriorating the atmosphere. According to the Encyclopedia of Environmental Politics, over 8 billion animals are slaughtered in CAFO’s every year. This generates 1. 4 billion tons of manure-which is 130 times more than humans produce in an equal time period.

Excessive animal waste seeps into waters polluting living environments for fish and the water sources the public drinks from. Methane is a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon dioxide and is most commonly produced by farm animals (Brickman). Excessive emissions from gases as such heat the earth, destroying ecosystems and lead us in the direction of global warming. Fossil fuel is another leading cause of Global Warming (Campbell, 1239) and is released in excess from high energy usage of CAFO’s. Although J.

Patrick Boyle, President and CEO of the American Meat Institute (AMI) assured Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States (AHSUS), “The AMI is an ethically appropriate organization as the entire establishment is committed to the welfare of animals,” evidence provided by Pacelle supported that CAFO livestock are beaten and tortured to death (qtd in Clemmit. ) According to Pacelle, from his testimony before Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture in 2008, a staff member of the AHSUS had been andomly selected to investigate the Hallmark/Westland Meat Packing Co. in Southern California under-cover as a factory worker. Pacelle had not been surprised by the report he had received back from the investigator. He filmed workers ramming cows with the blades of a forklift, jabbing them in the eyes, applying painful electric shocks to sensitive areas, dragging them with chains pulled by heavy machinery and torturing them with a high pressure water hose to stimulate drowning, all in attempts to force crippled animals to walk to slaughter. Shortly after this investigation, AHSUS discovered, “Hallmark/Westland had been previously cited for mishandling animals. Incidents as such, accounting for animal abuse and suffering are common among CAFO’s across the United States and it is clear the USDA and the AMI could strive for a higher quality conditions of life for livestock. The AMI is not concerned with life quality-only industrialization efficiency. The USDA does not hold regulatory requirements firm enough to regulate adequate life quality for livestock in CAFO’s. J.

Patrick Boyle of the AMI claims, “The AMI seek not only to meet the regulatory requirements but to exceed them” (Qtd. in Clemmitt)). Unfortunately, USDA does not regulate frequently enough to ensure such a deal. Most commonly, the USDA is aware of animal suffering and inadequate living conditions provided for them. The AHSUS investigator reported that, during his undercover investigation, an agent from the USDA visited the establishment. He claimed, “the agent was present twice daily in the living area-which he merely noted animals who could not stand yet approved the rest for slaughter. It may have been appropriate for the USDA representative to investigate these animals in greater depth after the sighting of sick and injured livestock. It is clear that the responsibility for animal welfare should not be left in hands of the AMI or the USDA-their standards for animal welfare are not adequate enough. The AMI has far too many animals to care-take each one individually and the USDA is not present frequently enough to regulate already low standards.

After all, the primary responsibility of the USDA is food, not animal welfare. Livestock agriculture is in dire need of regulatory welfare requirements that will protect their well being adequately instead of minimally. In addition, it also needs inspectors who will enforce these regulations firmly as the AMI is solely in the business for the sake of profit; not animal welfare. As of now, regulatory inspections of CAFO’s are not performed with the carefulness necessary to ensure a quality way of life for livestock. J.

Patrick Boyle of the AMI stands that the meat industry provides adequate living for livestock and there is no need for additional welfare standards within CAFO’s. Proven numerous times, requirements are often not met and regulators are dis-concerned with the matter. Something more must be done to increase animal welfare requirements for livestock agriculture. Conclusion Establishers of CAFO’s are only concerned with industrialization and profit; their livestock is abused, neglected and they suffer slow, painful deaths.

Livestock growth control is another method of industrialization, deigned for profit at the cost of health for animals and consumers. CAFO’s exhibit severe environmental hazards such as global warming from greenhouse gases and pollution from animal use in addition to excess animal waste. Low quality meat-a product of mass production spreads diseases. It is the responsibility of USDA affiliates to regulate these conditions. However, this responsibility should be taken far more seriously by increase of welfare requirements and inspections that are performed more frequently as well as efficiently.

Animal Welfare essay

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