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Little, Brown and Company, 11/2009
This book is the result of the author’s research (based on conservative or government data, fact-checked by two outside sources) on the realities of the US meat supply. If you eat meat, or if you feed it to your children, you should know the facts:
“99% of all land animals [including poultry] eaten or used to produce milk and eggs in the US are factory farmed.”
What is factory farming? “A system of industrialized and intensive agriculture in which animals—often housed by the tens or even hundreds of thousands—are genetically engineered, restricted in mobility, and fed unnatural diets (which almost always include various drugs, like antimicrobials)…all [factory farms] harm animals in ways that would be illegal according to even relatively weak animal welfare legislation.”
Care about the environment you’ll leave your children? “Animal agriculture makes a 40% greater contribution to global warming than all transportation in the world combined; it is the number one cause of climate change.”
Beef? Even if cattle are raised on pasture, they are trucked to slaughter for up to 48 hours with no food or water, often in extreme heat and cold. Inspectors are not generally allowed to watch their actual slaughter.
Chicken? According to Consumer Reports, 83% of all chicken meat is infected with either campylobacter or salmonella at the time of purchase. Guess why you have to be so careful how you prepare/cook it??? Humane? It is standard practice to sear off their beaks and allow them less space each than a piece of printer paper. “Cage free” or “free range” are not what they imply.
Pork? Bacon? Pregnant pigs and those who recently gave birth are usually kept in crates too small for them to turn around, without bedding. The huge outdoor lagoons of their untreated feces frequently spill into surrounding water and their fumes cause chronic illness in their vicinity.
Ever eat Tyson meats? (Quite likely, they’re the world’s largest processor and marketer of chicken, beef and pork…) The author sent a request to them SIX times, asking if he could meet “farmers” or tour “farms”, and never got a response. Sound suspicious?
Fish in this industry? Never killed humanely, and dozens of species of “non-target” sea creatures including whales and turtles are hooked or netted, die and are thrown overboard in the mass-fishing industry. (Called “bycatch” by the industry.)
Swine flu and bird flu? Caused by crossover of illness from factory farms. Our growing resistance to antibiotics? Most factory farmed animals are fed antibiotics before they get sick, to combat unsanitary conditions and make them grow faster. Worldwide sources state that the next pandemic will be linked to factory farming.
If you’re still thinking, “But I like eating meat!”, then at least read this book to make an educated decision. Not just the animals’ welfare, but your own, and that of the planet, is at stake.
Or, if you’d consider going vegetarian, are you worried about staying healthy? The American Dietetic Association says, “Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, and for athletes.”
The author emphasizes that by eating meat one chooses to finance the above-described industry on a daily basis. The question is, do you really want to?