FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

How Factory Farms Make You Sick

Factory farms makes you sick.

Let us count the ways.

Just last week, more than half a billion eggs recalled.

Why?

Salmonella poisoning.

More than 1,300 people sick.

Just last week, a recall of more than 380,000 pounds of deli meat products distributed nationwide to Wal-Mart stores.

Why?

Possible contamination with the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes.

The bacteria can cause listeriosis – a rare but potentially deadly disease.

Move over Animal Farm.

Here comes Animal Factory.

And the animal factories are dominating the agricultural landscape.

Making us sick and poisoning the environment.

The Obama administration, which ran on a platform to confront factory farming, has done little to confront the problem.

“They don’t have the stomach to take on the factory farms,” David Kirby, author of the book Animal Factory (St. Martin’s Press, 2010), told Corporate Crime Reporter last week. “They are gun shy. I’m disappointed.”

While the Justice Department and the Department of Agriculture are holding hearings on concentration in agribusiness, Kirby see the exercise as a glorified listening tour.

He doesn’t anticipate federal intervention to prevent a disaster.

But he says what needs to be done is clear – move from factory farms to family farms.

How?

Ban non-therapeutic antibiotic use in animals.

Bust up the processing cartels.

“There are so few processing plants now and they are so centralized and big they want to process only factory farm animals,” Kirby says.

Cut the billions in subsidies to agribusiness.

“And by the way, why aren’t the tea partiers out there screaming about the billions of dollars we give away every year to these massive farms?” Kirby asks.

“And then take some of those subsidies and give them to small independent farmers who can really use it to compete.”

He says that the Obama administration ran on a platform to do some of these things.

But it refuses to take on big agribusiness.

Kirby says it will take a disaster to change the system.

“You can pass all the laws you want, organize all the boycotts,” Kirby said. “But ultimately when you cram thousands of animals into a single confined space without access to fresh air, outdoor sunlight, pasture, natural animal behaviors – you are asking for problems in the form of diseases that attack people.”

“Mother nature will have the last word. Mad cow disease was a warning. Swine flu was a warning. MRSA was a warning. The egg recall was a warning.”

“But we haven’t hit the big one yet.”

“Things are changing. Consumers are waking up.”

“I understand that there are lines around the block at farmers markets where eggs sell out by noon.”

“Demand for sustainably grown eggs right now is huge. That will make companies sit up and take notice.”

“Things are changing. But for a massive shift away from factory farming, it will probably take some new super-virus combining the killer bird flu and some killer swine flu.”

“And that could happen. These chicken farms in Iowa are just down the road from the hog farms.”

“And birds and rodents and insects are moving in and out of these places.”

That disaster would force public action. But what about preventable public action by the Obama administration.

“It won’t be enough to have a serious impact on the structure of the factory farms,” Kirby says. “We are awash in apathy in this country.”

[For a complete transcript of the Interview with David Kirby see 24 Corporate Crime Reporter 33(10), August 30, 2010, print edition only.]

RUSSELL MOKHIBER is the editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter.

More articles by:

Russell Mokhiber is the editor of the Corporate Crime Reporter..

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
February 14, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
Mayor Mike, Worse Than Mayor Pete
Bruce E. Levine
“Sublime Madness”: Anarchists, Psychiatric Survivors, Emma Goldman & Harriet Tubman
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Leader of the Pack
Jennifer Matsui
The Doomsday Cuckoo Clock
Paul Street
Things Said in Confidence to 4000 Close Friends This Week
Jonathan Cook
Even With Corbyn Gone, Antisemitism Threats Will Keep Destroying the UK Labour Party
Thomas Klikauer
Cambridge Analytica: a Salesgirl’s Report
Joseph Natoli
Vichy Democrats vs. the Master Voice
David Rosen
Sanders vs. the Establishment Democrats: McGovern All Over Again?
Louis Proyect
Marx, Lincoln and Project 1619
Robert Hunziker
Amazon Onslaught
Russell Mokhiber
NPR and the Escalating Attack on Single-Payer Health Care
Ramzy Baroud
Breaking with Washington: Arabs and Muslims Must Take a United Stance for Palestine
Mike Miller
Race and Class: Overcoming the Divides
Michael Brennan
Timeline: How the DNC Manipulated 2016 Presidential Race 
Jacob G. Hornberger
U. S. Lies and Deaths in Afghanistan
Rev. William Alberts
Trump Served Up Projection at the National Prayer Breakfast
Nick Pemberton
The Overwhelming Sex Appeal Of Bernie Sanders
David Swanson
Why This Election Is Different
Dan Bacher
Western States Petroleum Association Tops CA Lobbying Expenses with $8.8 Million Spent in 2019
Christopher Ketcham
The Medium Warps the Message Straight to Our Extinction
Erik Molvar
Trump’s Gutting of NEPA Will Cut the Public Out of Public Lands Decisions
William Kaufman
Tulsi Gabbard: A Political Postmortem
Colin Todhunter
Menace on the Menu in Post-EU Britain
Gregory Elich
Mnangagwa’s Neoliberal Assault on the Zimbabwean People
Ron Jacobs
The Lies of Industry and the Liars Who Sell Them
Binoy Kampmark
Subverting the Blacklist: Kirk Douglas’s Modest Contribution
Tom Engelhardt
The War in Questions: Making Sense of the Age of Carnage
Peter Certo
Who’s Afraid of Socialism?
Brett Wilkins
Dresden, February 1945
Missy Comley Beattie
You’re a Lying, Dog-Faced Pony Soldier
Thomas Knapp
Yes, the ERA Has Been Ratified
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
Can the World’s Second Superpower Rise From the Ashes of Twenty Years of War?
Manuel García, Jr.
A Short History of Humanity’s Future
Leonard C. Goodman
The Iowa Fallout and the Democrats’ Shadowy Plot to Stop Sanders
Nilofar Suhrawardy
Delhi Polls: A Storm Over Winner’s “Religious” Acts!
Saad Hafiz
The Unending Human Tragedy in Syria
Jacob Levich
Ocasio-Cortez to Constituents on Bolivian Coup: Drop Dead
Nicky Reid
The Buttigieg Delusion
Gary Leupp
Gramsci and You: an Open Letter to Mayor Pete
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Black America and the Presidents
John Kendall Hawkins
50th Anniversary of Abbie Hoffman’s Intro to STB
Susan Block
Rush Limbaugh Gets Medal for Being the King of Creeps
David Yearsley
Better in Dolby
Peter Harrison
Money is Our Assonance: Seven Short Poems
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail